Sen. Imoke is an International Relations (Major) and Economics (Minor) at the University of Maryland, College Park in the United States, he graduated in 1982, and went on to study Law at the University of Buckingham, England, earning an LLB degree in 1985. He went further to pursue a Masters in Law at the American University in Washington, D. C. In 1992, aged 30, he was elected a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, becoming the youngest legislator in the history of The Senate.
In July 2003, Senator Imoke was appointed Nigeria's Minister of Power and Steel - at a point, doubling as Minister of Education. As Minister of Power and Steel, Imoke implemented comprehensive reforms in the power sector including the management of the passage of the Electric Power Sector Reform Bill in 2005, which resulted in the promulgation of the Nigerian Power Sector Reform Act of 2005, and consequentially, led to the establishment of the Nigerian Energy Regulatory Commission (NERC), the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) and the unbundling of the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA). Also under Imoke's leadership, the Ministry devised, and began the implementation of a 25-year national energy development plan, embarking on the largest power programme in the world at the time – the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP).
Senator Liyel Imoke is the Executive Governor of Cross River State and has received many awards, including the Thisday Award as Best Governor in Tourism Development for 2008. He is a member of the Nigeria Bar Association, Honorary fellow of the Nigeria Society of Engineers, Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration, amongst others. In recognition of his outstanding contributions to humanity, Senator Imoke was awarded a Doctor of Law Degree, Honoris Causa by the Imo State University, where he delivered the 6th Pre-Convocation lecture on "Fostering Rights and Liberties through education" in 2009 and in 2010 by the University of Calabar, Calabar