Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan GCFR, GCON (born 20 November 1957 is a Nigerian politician who served as the President of Nigeria from 2010 to 2015. He lost the 2015 presidential election to former military head of state General Muhammadu Buhari, and was the first incumbent President in Nigerian history to concede defeat in an election.
Prior to that, he served as Vice President of Nigeria from 2007 to 2010 under the administration of Umaru Musa Yar’Adua; and in oil-rich Bayelsa State as Governor of Bayelsa State from 2005 to 2007.
Goodluck Jonathan was born on 20 November,1957 in Ogbia to a Christian family of canoe makers, from the Ijaw minority ethnic group in Bayelsa state.
He received a bachelor degree in zoology (second-class honours), a masters degree in hydrobiology and fisheries biology; and a doctorate in zoology from the University of Port Harcourt.
Before his entry into politics in 1998, he worked as an education inspector, a lecturer and an environmental-protection officer.
On 29 May 1999, Jonathan was sworn in as Deputy Governor of Bayelsa alongside Diepreye Alamieyeseigha who came in as the governor of the state on the platform of PDP. Jonathan served as Deputy Governor until December 2005. On 9 December 2005, Jonathan, who was the deputy governor at the time, was sworn in as the governor of Bayelsa State upon the impeachment of the current Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha by the Bayelsa State Assembly after being charged with money laundering in the United Kingdom.
As a vice-president, Jonathan took a very low profile. While recognising the constitutional limits of the vice-president’s office, he participated in cabinet meetings and, by statute, was a member of the National Security Council, the National Defence Council, the Federal Executive Council, and Chairman of the National Economic Council.
Goodluck Jonathan was instrumental in negotiating an agreement with many of the major militant groups in the Niger Delta, to lay down their weapons and stop fighting as part of a government amnesty program.
Order of succession
Goodluck Jonathan was named Acting President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on 9 February 2010, following a controversial doctrine of necessity from the Senate of Nigeria, due to President Yar’Adua’s trip to Saudi Arabia in November 2009 for medical treatment. On 10 February 2010, during his first day as acting president, Jonathan announced a minor cabinet reshuffle.
In accordance with the order of succession in the Nigerian constitution following President Umaru Yar’Adua’s death on 5 May 2010, acting President Goodluck Jonathan was sworn in as the substantive President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on 6 May 2010. On 18 May 2010, the National Assembly approved Jonathan’s nomination of Kaduna State governor, Namadi Sambo, to replace him as Vice President. For the general election in 2011, Jonathan and Vice-President Sambo attended political events and travelled the country to campaign for the nation’s highest office.
A year later, on 29 May 2011 he was sworn in as President, Commander-in Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, becoming Nigeria’s 14th Head of State. He gave his inauguration address where he declared his government was to focus on a Transformation Agenda and promised to continue implementing the seven-point agenda policy framework of President Umaru Musa Yar’adua. He cited anti-corruption, power and electoral reforms as focuses of his administration. He stated that he came to office under “very sad and unusual circumstances”.
Since leaving office, Jonathan has continued to defend his administration. In 2019, he was appointed as the honorary Special Adviser to the Bayelsa Education Trust Fund Board. In June 2019, Goodluck Jonathan emerged as chairperson of the newly inaugurated International Summit Council for Peace (ISCP). In July 2020, Jonathan was appointed Special Envoy of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS); to lead mediation talks during the 2020 Malian protests.
Jonathan and his wife, Dame Jonathan Patience, have two children, Ariwera (Son) and Aruabai (daughter).