was born to a humble Niger Delta family of canoe makers on November 20, 1957. Growing up in the warmth of a close knit family, Dr. Jonathan had humble yet adventurous beginnings. In spite of the enchanting beauty of the Niger Delta and the pristine innocence of those times, the young Jonathan rather than take after the family trade, chose to go to school.
He attended St. Stephens and St. Michaels Primary Schools, Oloibiri, finishing in 1969. He proceeded to Mater Dei High School, Imiringi, where he passed his West African School Certificate with flying colours in 1975.
On completion of his secondary education, he worked as a Preventive Officer with the Nigerian Customs Service for two years before proceeding to the University of Port Harcourt as one of the pioneer students of the new university nestling on the shores of the Choba River. He chose Zoology. As a child he had been fascinated with nature, and growing up by the shores of the intertwining rivers and waterways of the Niger Delta, aquatic life was second nature.
He graduated with Second Class Upper honours in 1981. In 1985 and 1995 he studied for his Master’s and Ph.D degrees in Hydrobiology and Fisheries Biology, and Zoology respectively, from the same University. But this was not until he had completed his mandatory one year of National Youth Service in Iresi, old Oyo State, now Osun State of Nigeria.
Returning to the warm embrace of family and friends in 1982, he was appointed as Science Inspector of Education, Rivers State Ministry of Education, while studying in between for his post-graduate and graduate degrees. Between 1983 and 1993 he took up employment as a lecturer in the Department of Biological Science, Rivers State College of Education.
In the year 1993, Goodluck was appointed Assistant Director (Ecology of the defunct Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC) in charge of Environmental Protection. Working in a developmental environment, his desire to better of the lot of the people motivated him to answer the call to service. He resigned his job in 1998 and went into politics.
Deputy Governor of Bayelsa
On 29 May 1999, Jonathan was sworn in as Deputy Governor of Bayelsa alongside Diepreye Alamieyeseigha who named in as the governor of the state on the platform of PDP. Jonathan served as Deputy Governor until December 2005.
Governor of Bayelsa
On 9 December 2005, Jonathan, who was Deputy Governor at the time, was sworn in as 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. In September 2006, Jonathan was marred by reports released by Wikileaks claiming his wife was indicted for money-laundering by Nigeria’s anti-crime agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The report proved to be false. The head of the EFCC stated that “Mrs. Jonathan was not in any way involved in any case of money laundering investigated by the EFCC”.
As 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 was the Chairman of National Economic Council.
Vice-President Jonathan was instrumental in negotiating an agreement with many of the major militant groups in the Niger Delta, who were mostly his fellow Ijaws, to lay down their weapons and stop fighting as part of a government amnesty.
On 9 February 2010, a motion from the Nigerian Senate invested Goodluck Jonathan as acting President of the Federation because President Yar’Adua went 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. Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, who was the Labour Minister, was named Minister of Justice, to replace Mr Mike Aondoakaa. Aondoakaa was named as the Minister of Special Duties, and his counterpart Ibrahim Kazaure was named Minister of Labour.
Acting President Jonathan also promised to continue implementing the Seven-point agenda policy framework of President Umaru Musa Yar’adua.
Order of succession
In accordance with the order of succession in the Nigerian constitution following President Umaru Yar’Adua’s death on 5 May 2010, Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan was sworn in as the Acting President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on 6 May 2010, becoming Nigeria’s 14th Head of State. 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”.
On 18 May 2010, the National Assembly approved Jonathan’s nomination of former Kaduna State governor, Namadi Sambo, for the position of Vice-President.
2011 presidential campaign and elections
On 15 September 2010, Jonathan announced on Facebook that he had decided to run for public office on his own for the first time, in the race for the presidency of Nigeria in 2011.
In the contest for the Peoples Democratic Party nomination, Goodluck Jonathan was up against the former vice-president Atiku Abubakar and Mrs. Sarah Jubril. On 13 January 2011 the primary election results were announced in Eagle Square, Abuja. Jonathan was declared winner with a victory in two-thirds of the states of the Federation counted.
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. Jonathan won the general election against General Muhammadu Buhari and his running mate Pastor Tunde Bakare with 59% of the votes. On 18 April, Jonathan was declared the winner of the election.
Roadmap for Power Sector Reform
On 2 August 2010, Jonathan launched his ‘Roadmap for Power Sector Reform‘. Its primary goal was to achieve stable electricity supply in Nigeria.
Historically, the Nigerian Power Sector has been plagued by blackouts. Economists estimate that power outages have cost Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy, billions of dollars in imported diesel for generators and lost output. In a study conducted by the World Bank, a lack of access to financing and electricity were cited as Nigeria’s main obstacles to development, surpassing corruption. President Jonathan has overseen the privatisation of Nigeria’s power sector with the end goal being the establishment of an efficient and reliable power supply infrastructure for the Nigerian population. The Power Holding Company of Nigeria, which acted as the nation’s electricity provider, has been broken up into 15 firms, with Nigeria handing over control of state electricity assets to 15 private bidding companies. The Nigerian government contracted for the services of CPCS Transcom Limited, a Canada-based consulting firm specialising in transportation and energy infrastructure projects, to act as the transaction adviser for the handover of state electricity assets.
According to President Jonathan, Nigeria’s foreign policy was reviewed to reflect a “citizen-focused” approach, designed to “accord this vision of defending the dignity of humanity the highest priority” and connect foreign policy to domestic policy, while placing a greater emphasis on economic diplomacy.
2015 presidential campaign and elections
On 31 March 2015, Jonathan conceded the election to challenger Muhammadu Buhari, who was sworn in to succeed him on 29 May 2015. Jonathan said in a statement he issued on 31 March 2015 that “Nobody’s ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian.”
Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act
In January 2014, Jonathan signed into law the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act after it was passed by the Senate and House of Representatives. The law prohibits gay relationships, membership and other involvement in gay societies and organisations and gay marriages. The bill comes after international polls showed that 98% of Nigerians did not think homosexuality should be accepted by society, the highest percentage of any country surveyed. Penalties can be up to 14 years in prison for gay marriages and up to 10 years for other violations of the law. Within a short period, the federal police department compiled a list of 168 gay people who would subsequently be jailed. Within days 38 lesbian and gay people had been jailed, with arrests beginning during Christmas. The anti-LGBT bill stipulates that those who withhold the details of LGBT individuals face prison terms of up to five years. His decision and the law itself have been described as controversial, but according to a poll, 92% of Nigerians supported the ban.
World Cup controversy
After the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, in which the Nigerian team failed to advance beyond group stage, Jonathan decreed a ban on international games for the football team. objected to the president’s decision and threatened to evict Nigeria from the association. Subsequently he lifted the ban.
Controversy over Ministerial Nominations and Appointments 2011
In 2011, the Nigerian President’s failure to nominate and appoint at least 36 indigenes, one for each of the 36 states is in breach of article 147 subsection (3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999: ” The President shall appoint at least one Minister from each State, who shall be an indigene of such State”.
The President can be taken to constitutional court in Nigeria for noncompliance with Article 147(3) of the constitution.
Controversy over removal of fuel subsidy on 1st January 2012
On Tuesday 13 December 2011, the 2012 budget which was presented to the Nigerian National Assembly by President Jonathan removed any provisions for fuel subsidy. The issue of fuel subsidy removal in Nigeria has always been a controversial topic. According to a poll carried out by the Alliance for Credible Elections (ACE- Nigeria) showed that 80 per cent of Nigerians opposed the plan to remove fuel subsidy.
On Sunday 1st January 2012, the Jonathan administration ignored the concerns of the majority of the Nigerian people and the Nigerian National Assembly which has the power to pass the budget by announcing the start of a controversial plan to end fuel subsidies.
Many prominent Nigerians have spoken out against the removal of fuel subsidy by the Jonathan administration. According to Professor Tam David-West, the former Petroleum Minister, the planned removal of fuel subsidy will squeeze the economy, increase inflation, hurt businesses and the public.
A former military Head of State and a former Minister for Petroleum & Natural Resources, General Buhari urged President Jonathan not to remove fuel subsidy and tackle corruption.
General Yakubu Gowon another former military Head of State has warned the government that the country’s infrastructure should be revived before fuel subsidy removal steps are taken.
Former military president, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, has joined millions of Nigerians protesting against the removal of fuel subsidy by the Jonathan administration, saying that the action is ill-timed.
The Nigeria Labour Congress has warned the country faces many strikes and mass protests over the removal of fuel subsidy.
Protesters and groups have called for President Jonathan to resign over the removal of fuel subsidies.
Benefits Nigerians will no longer enjoy due to the removal of fuel subsidies are:
- Security of supply – subsidies are used to ensure adequate domestic supply by supporting indigenous fuel production in order to reduce import dependency, or supporting overseas activities of national energy companies.
- Environmental improvement – subsidies are used to reduce pollution, including different emissions, and to fulfil international obligations.
- Economic benefits – subsidies in the form of reduced prices are used to stimulate particular economic sectors or segments of the population.
- Employment and social benefits – subsidies are used to maintain employment, especially in periods of economic transition.
Nigerian Insecurity and Bomb attacks in Nigeria a key challenge to the President
The Nigerian President was severely criticized in the media over prevalent lack of security and current bomb attacks in the country. This is now a key challenge to President Goodluck Jonathan. On 26 August 2011, the UN building in Abuja was bombed. President Goodluck Jonathan announced that it was not merely an attack on Nigeria, but on the international community. He told reporters that, “we would work together with the UN and other world leaders to ensure that terrorism is brought under control.
President Jonathan is under immense pressure from Nigerians and the international community to end the attacks and to reinforce strong security measures in the country.
Jonathan’s government has largely been described as corrupt. According to The Economist, corruption flourished under the Jonathan administration, “who let politicians and their cronies fill their pockets with impunity.” Large sums of money have been used improperly multiple times, with ₦ 3.98 trillion Naira ($20 billion USD) allegedly going missing and ₦ 398 billion Naira ($2 billion USD) of military funds allegedly dispersed amongst high-ranking officials. In addition, Jonathan was alleged to have personally ordered over ₦ 3 trillion Naira ($15 billion USD) from the Central Bank of Nigeria to support his election and other self-seeking projects under the guise of an intervention fund for national stability. Charles Soludo, a professor of economics and former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, equated Jonathan’s financial recklessness to that of former Ugandan president Idi Amin. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, an economist and former Finance Minister of Nigeria, pegged Jonathan’s administration as the main cause of Nigeria’s economic woes in a lecture at George Washington University, although she later denied it.
Since May 2015, the Muhammadu Buhari administration reportedly has been fighting corruption that arose under Jonathan. Many former political office holders and appointees that served under Jonathan, as well as party members, have been arrested on various corruption charges. It is alleged that some, including former Finance Minister Nenadi Usman, have returned part of the money they stole. Many of the corrupt officials that have been arrested have stated that they acted under Jonathan’s instructions. It remains unclear whether or not Jonathan, who is believed to have either masterminded or condoned the corruption, will be arrested.
Lesson From Goodluck Jonathan
- Being at the right place at the right time; Jonathan seems to have a penchant for being in the right place at the right time- He assumed the presidency following President Umaru Yar’Adua’s death on May 5 2010, but that wasn’t the first time he had to lead. In 1999, he was deputy governor for his home state of Bayelsa when the governor was impeached on corruption charges. Jonathan moved into the open position, beginning his more illustrious political career.
- Being brought up from a peasant family; Jonathan was born to a family of canoe makers Jonathan was born in what is now Bayelsa State to a family of canoe makers.
- Being brought up with a wooden spoon in is mouth; His parent couldn’t afford material things for him, he lack material things during is early life. He used to walk to school with is bearfoot
- Lucky Charm; His charismatism makes him to beyond expectation, when he was in high school. He was being used as the assistant Captain, the school captain passed, and he took over, when he was serving as the deputy governor in his own state, the governor was alleged to various corruption charge and was impeached, he took over as the governor. in the year 2011, when he was vice-president the late president Musa Yar’dua died and he was sworn in as the president
- Perseverance; just like the name of his wife “Patience” brought him great achievement success in his life career. During the 2015 presidential election. Buhari defeated him flawlessly and peacefully hand over power to the secessionist, this act made his kinsmen to levy much hate on him.
- Being Humble; his way of being humble, have made him to gain international exposure, his humbleness bagged him lots of respect oversea.