President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan


Date of Birth: 20/11/1957
Place of Birth: Bayelsa

Education: St Stephen’s Primary School, Otuoke, 1961-65; St Michael’s Primary School, Oloibiri, 1966-69; Mater Dei High School, Imiringi, 1971-75; BSc, Zoology, University of Port Harcourt, 1977-81; MSc, Hydrobiology, University of Port Harcourt, 1983-84; PhD, Zoology, University of Port Harcourt, 1987-95.

Career: Preventive Officer, Department of Customs and Exise, 1975-77; Science Inspector, Education, Rivers State Ministry of Education, Port Harcourt, 1982-83; Lecturer, Department of Biology, Rivers State College of Education, Port Harcourt, 1983-93; Department of Environment Protection, Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC), 1993-98; Deputy Governor, Bayelsa State, 1999-2005; Governor, Bayelsa State, 2005-2007; Vice-President, Nigeria, 2007 to date, Acting President, Nigeria, February 2010 to date.

Commentary: Jonathan’s spectacular political ascent, from Deputy Governor to Governor to Vice-President (all within two years), began when then Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha was impeached for violating money laundering codes. Because Jonathan is Ijaw, like most of the militant groups in the Niger Delta, it was believed his selection as Vice-President would reduce attacks by militants. But on 18 May 2007, militants attacked his country home, killing two policemen. Jonathan was not there at the time. 

In February 2010, Nigeria's National Assembly promoted Jonathan from Vice-President to Acting President, suspending President Umaru Yar’Adua, who had been attempting to rule from a hospital ward in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, since November 2009. Jonathan was sworn in as Head of State on 6 May 2010, following the death of President Yar'Adua in Abuja.

He won the PDP presidential nomination of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on 14 January with an unexpected 77% of the votes. Jonathan, the insiders quickly learned, had promised all first-term state governors that they would have the PDP nomination for their second terms in return for their support of his presidential nomination. All 26 duly obliged and Jonathan’s nomination was secure. The betting is that Jonathan as the PDP candidate is on course to win the presidency in April. Unlike Ghana, incumbents in Nigeria do not lose elections. After Buhari’s convincing campaign in the North, the parties will now focus on developing much stronger alliances there ahead of the presidential vote. Goodluck Jonathan has yet to persuade Nigeria that he is a national rather than a Niger Delta leader. Doing that will be harder than winning the primaries.


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Vol 55 N0 22


Firefighters against an inferno

He agreed to take the idea forward, consulted former Borno State Governor Ali Modu Sherriff and an impromptu meeting was arranged with President Goodluck Jonathan in Ndjamena (AC Vol 55 No 18, How terror twists the vote)...

Vol 55 N0 21


Follow the money

The leak from an Italian government investigation of ENI (Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi) reveals that ENI officials made direct contact with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and his then Oil and Petroleum Resources Minister, Diezani Allison-Madueke, to break the logjam over the contentious OPL 245...

Vol 55 N0 21


Clash of the Titans

South African ex-President Thabo Mbeki and Nigerian ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo are working behind the scenes to try to reconcile Presidents Jacob Zuma and Goodluck Jonathan, Africa Confidential understands...

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Vol 55 N0 18


How terror twists the vote

In turn, the APC accuses the PDP government and President Goodluck Jonathan of serial incompetence and disregard for northern Nigerians...

Vol 55 N0 17


Oil, the political lubricant

Above all else, opposition politicians insist that President Goodluck Jonathan and the governing People's Democratic Party (PDP) have been misusing state oil revenue for political campaigning...

Vol 55 N0 15


After the amnesty, more amnesty

However, part of President Goodluck Jonathan's credo and reason for his elevation to the vice-presidency in 2007, is that as a Delta politician, he understood the region's troubles and had a solution...

MEND threatened to continue the attacks against oil installations because it regarded the amnesty as a fraud 'to line the pockets of Goodluck Jonathan, his wife Patience, and members of the Amnesty Committee whose sudden wealth remains unchallenged by the Nigerian media...

Vol 55 N0 15


Honour among presidents

Richard Konteh, the State House Chief of Staff supposedly fired for corruption, is claiming that he was in fact the fall guy for President Ernest Bai Koroma's inadvertent angering of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan (AC Vol 55 No 12, Koroma sacks top aide)...

Vol 55 N0 14


Africa policy moves up the agenda

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan attended the Elysée summit and in May asked Hollande to host a regional summit on tackling the Islamist militia Boko Haram...

Vol 55 N0 13


Sanusi's political throne

From any angle, the appointment of Sanusi Lamido Aminu Sanusi as the 57th Emir of Kano is bad news for President Goodluck Jonathan and his government...

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Vol 55 N0 12


Jonathan faces the north

A month ago it was France that hosted the regional summit at which President Goodluck Jonathan declared 'total war' on the Jama'atu Ahlus Sunnah Lidda'awati wal Jihad, widely known as Boko Haram, dubbing it the Al Qaida of West Africa...

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