Yakowa attended St. Mary’s Secondary School, Fadan Kaje and St. John College, Kaduna, and then was admitted to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He graduated with a B. Sc (Social Sciences) in June 1972.
Patrick Yakowa joined the Civil Service of North Central State, serving as Division Officer, Secretary in the Military Governor’s Office, and Local Government Sole Administrator. He rose to Permanent Secretary in the Kaduna State civil service, heading the Ministries of Health, Works and Transport.
In 1990, Yakowa transferred to the Federal Civil Service until the administration of General Sani Abacha appointed him Commissioner in Kaduna State from 1994 to 1997. Returning to the Federal Civil Service after this posting, he was Director Joint Services at the Ministry of Defense from February 1997 to August 1998, and then a Director at the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development until 14 June 1999, when he was appointed Permanent Secretary and retired.
Yakowa’s political career spanned over a decade. From December 1992 to April 1993, he was Chairman, National Republican Convention (NRC) Caretaker Committee, Kaduna State and led the NRC State delegation to the Party’s National Convention. At the advent of the present political dispensation, Yakowa worked for the Ahmed Makarfi campaign organization in 2003, helping Governor Makarfi get reelected. He was also chairman of the Rivers State Screening Committee for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in 2003.
Yakowa was appointed Secretary to the Government of Kaduna State in September 2003. He was appointed Deputy Governor of Kaduna State in July 2005, replacing Stephen Shekari, who had died on July 10. In December 2006, he was a contender to be PDP candidate for governor of Kaduna State, but lost out to Namadi Sambo. Yakowa ran for deputy governor with Sambo running for governor.
When on May 20, 2010 President Goodluck Jonathan nominated Kaduna Namadi Sambo as his running mate for the 2011 Presidential election, Yakowa became first person from Southern Kaduna and first Christian to govern the state, a development which did not go down well with some Northern leaders.
He was sworn in as governor a day after Sambo become vice-president. In the April 2011 general elections, Yakowa successfully ran for election as Kaduna Governor on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), polling 1,334,319 votes to defeat his closest rival contender in the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) candidate, Haruna Sae’ed, who scored 1,133,564 votes.
He is best known for his speech after he was elected as governor of Kaduna State. To reassure people in the ethnically and religiously mixed state, he said: "I am governor for all, irrespective of religious or tribal affiliation".
His political views are seen in his work. Yakowa was a key figure in People's Democratic Party during his days. He has assisted in so many campaign and was successful. He worked for the Ahmed Makarfi campaign organization in 2003, helping Governor Makarfi get reelected. He was also chairman of the Rivers State Screening Committee for the People's Democratic Party (PDP) in 2003
He was married, and had children