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Goodluck Jonathan
Goodluck Jonathan at the Nuclear Security Summit 2010.jpg
President of Nigeria
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Acting: 9 February 2010 – 6 May 2010
Vice President Namadi Sambo
Preceded by Umaru Yar'Adua
Vice President of Nigeria
In office
29 May 2007 – 6 May 2010
President Umaru Yar'Adua
Preceded by Atiku Abubakar
Succeeded by Namadi Sambo
Governor of Bayelsa
In office
9 December 2005 – 28 May 2007
Preceded by Diepreye Alamieyeseigha
Succeeded by Timipre Sylva
Personal details
Born (1957-11-20) 20 November 1957 (age 66)
Ogbia, Nigeria
Political party People's Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Patience Jonathan
Alma mater University of Port Harcourt
Profession Zoologist
Religion Christianity

Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan, GCFR, BNER, GCON (born 20 November 1957[1]) is the 14th Head of State and current President of Nigeria.

He was Governor of Bayelsa State from 9 December 2005 to 28 May 2007, and was sworn in as Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on 29 May 2007. Jonathan is a member of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP). On 13 January 2010, a federal court handed him the power to carry out state affairs while President Umaru Yar'Adua received medical treatment in a Saudi Arabian hospital. A motion from the Nigerian Senate on 9 February 2010 confirmed these powers to act as President, in recognition of her opinion. On 24 February 2010, Yar'Adua returned to Nigeria, but Jonathan continued as acting president.[2] Upon Yar'Adua's death on 5 May 2010, Jonathan succeeded to the Presidency, taking the oath of office on 6 May 2010.

Early life, education and personal life

Jonathan was born in Otueke in Ogbia Local Government Area of the then Eastern Region, later Rivers State, now Bayelsa State to a family of canoe makers.[1][3] Jonathan holds a B.Sc. degree in Zoology in which he attained Second Class Honours, Upper Division. He also holds an M.Sc. degree in Hydrobiology and Fisheries biology, and a Ph.D. degree in Zoology from the University of Port Harcourt. After obtaining his degree, he worked as an education inspector, lecturer, and environmental-protection officer, until he decided to enter politics in 1998.[4]

Jonathan and his wife, Patience, have two children. He is a member of the Ijaw ethnic group.[5]


Jonathan (fifth from right) standing with other world leaders at a meeting of the Economic Community of West African States in July 2010.

Former President Umaru Yar'Adua died on 5 May 2010. Goodluck Jonathan was sworn in as Yar'Adua's successor on the following day,[6] becoming Nigeria's 14th Head of State, to serve until the next election, in 2011, at which time he could elect to run again, which he has done. Upon taking office, he cited anti-corruption, power and electoral reform as focuses of his administration. He stated that he came to office under "very sad and unusual circumstances".[7]

On 18 May 2010, the National Assembly approved President Jonathan's nomination of former Kaduna State governor, Namadi Sambo, an architect, for the position of Vice President.[8][9]

On June 29, 2010, President Goodluck Jonathan launched a Facebook fan-page; The president said that he launched his page in fulfillment of a promise he made earlier in the year to interact more with Nigerians.

On the 26th of August, 2010 President Goodluck Jonathan launched the most comprehensive plan which it tagged ‘Roadmap for Power Sector Reform’ aimed at restructuring the power sector and achieving stable electricity in the country. The President in his speech, identified the factors that affected reliable electricity service delivery to include the absence of a sustained and deliberately deployed long term power development strategy, under exploitation of the nation’s abundant energy endowments and the absence of adequate implementation of reforms.

On the 15th of September, 2010, President Jonathan, in a message on his Facebook Page, said he had finally decided to run for the presidency after wide consultations with various organizations across the country. This single action of his made him the first ever sitting President to declare his re-election bid via social media.

On the 20th of December, 2010 President Goodluck Jonathan, flagged off the national book campaign tagged 'Bring Back The Book', and presented his book, My Friends and I: conversations on policy and governance via Facebook to the public. He declared that the fight to bring back the book should be supported by all Nigerians, as the project provided Nigeria a sure path to technological growth. He further said that his government was encouraging a culture of catch-them-young so as to secure the future of the children.

On 14 January 2011, President Jonathan was elected as the Presidential flag-bearer of the ruling People's Democratic Party for the 2011 Presidential election by 77.7% of valid votes cast. He faced other candidates in the April 16, 2011 general election, including Mallam Nuhu Ribadu[10] of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and Muhammadu Buhari of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC).[11] On April 18, 2011, Goodluck Jonathan was declared the winner of the 2011 Nigerian presidential election. His election victory was followed by violence in the Northern part of the country.[12]

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. FIFA objected to the president's decision and threatened to evict Nigeria from the association. Subsequently he lifted the ban.[13]

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".[14]

The President can be taken to constitutional court in Nigeria for noncompliance with Article 147(3) of the constitution.

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.[15]

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.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Lawson Heyford, "Jonathan: A Colossus at 49", The Source (Lagos), 11 December 2006
  2. "Nigeria's Goodluck Jonathan 'is acting president'". BBC News. BBC. 25 February 2010. Retrieved 25 February 2010.
  3. [1]
  4. "Profile: Goodluck Jonathan". BBC News. 6 May 2010. Retrieved 6 May 2010.
  5. "Profile: Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria's unlikely leader". BBC. 22 February 2010. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
  6. News Agency of Nigeria story on newly sworn President Jonathan
  7. "Nigeria swears in new president". Al-Jazeera. 6 May 2010. Retrieved 6 May 2010.
  8. Punch Newspaper "NASS confirms Sambo as vice president"
  9. "National Assembly confirms Sambo as Vice President", Liberty News
  11. CNN report on the 2011 general election in Nigeria
  12. "Goodluck Jonathan wins Nigeria election". Ghana Mma. 18 April 2011. Retrieved 20 April 2011.[dead link]
  13. "Nigeria Escapes FIFA Sanctions After President Goodluck Jonathan Lifts Ban".
  14. "Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999". Retrieved 2011-07-02.
  15. BBC News, "Nigerian Leader Vows to fight terrorism after UN Attack" August 27, 2011

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Political offices
Preceded by
Diepreye Alamieyeseigha
Governor of Bayelsa State
Succeeded by
Timipre Sylva
Preceded by
Umaru Yar'Adua
President of Nigeria
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Umaru Yar'Adua
Chairperson of the Economic Community of West African States

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