Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (born 20 November 1957) is a Nigerian politician and currently the 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. On 24 February 2010 Yar’Adua returned to Nigeria, but Jonathan continued as acting president. 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. He holds a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree in Zoology in which he attained Second Class Honours, Upper Division. He also holds an M.Sc. in Hydrobiology/Fisheries biology, and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) 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.
He is married to Patience Faka Jonathan and has two children. Jonathan is a member of the Ijaw ethnic group.
Bayelsa State governorship
Jonathan, previously the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, succeeded Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, who was impeached by the Bayelsa State Assembly after being charged with money laundering in the United Kingdom. In September 2006, Jonathan’s wife was indicted by the nation’s anti-crime agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), for money laundering related offences.
In December 2006, Jonathan was selected as running mate to Umaru Yar’Adua for the ruling PDP presidential ticket in the April 2007 election. On 20 April 2007, shortly before the presidential election, a militant attack that was described by police as an assassination attempt against Jonathan occurred in Bayelsa State.
Goodluck Jonathan Vice Presidency
Following the PDP’s disputed electoral victory, militants blew up Jonathan’s country house in Otu-Eke, Bayelsa State on 16 May; two policemen were killed in the attack. Jonathan was not present at the time. After taking office, Yar’Adua publicly declared his assets, and on 8 August 2007, Jonathan also did so. According to Jonathan, as of 30 May 2007 he had a total of 295,304,420 naira ($8,569,662.40) in assets.
‘Humanitarian’ His concern for the welfare and happiness of others underscores his sense of obligation to society. In one of his earliest decisions as a vice president, he promptly ordered an expedited humanitarian investigation into a four year old decimation of Bua Teyork (formerly Teyor Kaani) in Rivers State. Jonathan acted to resettle over 40,000 men, women and children back to their homeland on July 19, 2007 in a peace effort facilitated by Goodluck Diigbo, an Ogoni,a Nigerian-American journalist and activist based in the United States of America. For four years (2004–2007) the people had been forced into the forests of Teyork and neighboring village of Yeghe, near Bori – the headquarters of oil and gas rich Ogoni people. Ogoni is the tribe of Ken Saro-Wiwa slain November 10, 1995 for speaking out against Shell and military dictatorship in Nigeria.
Jonathan meets U.S. President Barack Obama at the Nuclear Security Summit in the US in April 2010
President Umaru Yar’Adua left Nigeria on 23 November 2009 for medical treatment. He did not provide for anyone to assume his duties. On 13 January 2010, a federal court handed Vice-President Jonathan the power to carry out state affairs in the president’s continued absence. On 22 January 2010, the Supreme Court of Nigeria ruled that the Federal Executive Council(FEC)had 14 days to decide on a resolution about whether President Yar’Adua “is incapable of discharging the functions of his office”.
On 9 February 2010, the Senate determined that presidential power should be transmitted to the Vice President. He was appointed to serve as Acting President, with all the accompanying powers, until when and if Yar’Adua returned to full health. The power transfer was called a “coup without the word” by opposition lawyers and lawmakers.The Nigerian Constitution requires a written letter from the President stating he is unable to serve or that the cabinet sends a medical team to examine him but this provision has not apparently been fulfilled leaving some doubts as to the constitutionality of the action.
Yar’Adua died on 5 May 2010. Jonathan was sworn in as Yar’Adua’s replacement on 6 May 2010, becoming Nigeria’s 14th Head of State. He will serve as President until the next election. Upon taking office, Jonathan cited anti-corruption, power and electoral reform as likely 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 President Goodluck Jonathan’s nomination of former Kaduna State governor, Namadi Sambo, an architect, for the position of Vice President.
World Cup controversy
After the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, in which the Nigerian side 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 Jonathan lifted the ban.