Goodluck Jonathan

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Goodluck Jonathan
Goodluck Jonathan World Economic Forum 2013.jpg
President of Nigeria
Assumed office
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 – 29 May 2007
Preceded by Diepreye Alamieyeseigha
Succeeded by Timipre Sylva
Personal details
Born Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan
(1957-11-20) 20 November 1957 (age 57)
Ogbia, Nigeria
Political party People's Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Patience Faka
Alma mater University of Port Harcourt
Religion Christianity

Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan, GCFR, BNER, GCON (born 20 November 1957)[1] is a Nigerian politician who has been President of Nigeria since 2010. Prior to his role as President, he served as Governor of Bayelsa State from 2005 to 2007 and as Vice-President of Nigeria from 2007 to 2010. Jonathan is a member of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP).

Early and personal life[edit]

Jonathan was born in what is now Bayelsa State to a family of canoe makers.[1][2] Jonathan holds a B.Sc. degree in Zoology in which he attained Second Class Honours. He holds an M.Sc. degree in Hydrobiology and Fisheries biology, and a PhD degree in Zoology from the University of Port Harcourt. However, on 22 January 2015, former president Olusegun Obasanjo stated that President Goodluck Jonathan did not finish his PhD. He said “Even Jonathan did not finish his PhD course but when it was presented we stated that, it does not matter but many people do not know because it was PDP thing”. [3][4][5]

Before he entered politics in 1998, he worked as an education inspector, lecturer, and environmental-protection officer.[6]

Jonathan and his wife Patience have two children. He is a Christian, and he comes from the Ijaw ethnic group.[7]

In 2007, President Jonathan declared his assets worth a total of ₦ 295,304,420 Naira ($1,845,652 USD).[8] However on 9 October 2014, the website ranked Mr Jonathan sixth on its list, claiming his net worth was about $100m (£62m). He threatened to sue the website, claiming it "was an attempt to portray him as corrupt."[9] The page was removed, but was then published by another website.[10]


Order of succession[edit]

Jonathan (fifth from right) standing with other world leaders at a meeting of the Economic Community of West African States in July 2010.
President Jonathan posing with other world leaders at the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit. (second row, second from the left behind Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva)

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 President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on 6 May 2010,[11] 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".[12]

On 18 May 2010, the National Assembly approved Jonathan's nomination of former Kaduna State governor, Namadi Sambo, for the position of Vice-President.[13][14]

2011 presidential campaign and elections[edit]

On 15 September 2010, Jonathan announced on Facebook that he had decided to run for his first ever political election to hold public office as President 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 with victory in two-thirds of the states of the federation counted and Jonathan was declared winner.[15]

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 Nuhu Ribadu with 59% of the votes.[16][17][18] On 18 April, Jonathan was declared the winner of the election.[19]

Major initiatives[edit]

Roadmap for Power Sector Reform[edit]

On 2 August 2010 Jonathan launched his 'Roadmap for Power Sector Reform‘.[20] Its primary goal was to achieve stable electricity in Nigeria.

The Nigerian Power Sector has been historically plagued by blackouts. Economists estimate that the power outages cost Nigeria, Africa's biggest economy, billions of dollars on imported diesel for generators and in lost output. Jonathan has been overseeing the privatisation of his country's power sector, the end goal being an efficient and reliable power supply for the Nigerian population. The Power Holding Company of Nigeria, which acted as the state electricity provider, has been broken up into 15 firms, with Nigeria handing over control of state electricity assets to 15 private bidding companies.[21] The Nigerian government contracted 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.[22]

Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria[edit]

On 11 October 2011, President Jonathan launched the Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YOUWIN) Initiative which he stated was an innovative business plan competition that harnesses the creative energies of young people between the ages of 18 and 35. The YOUWIN Initiative is expected to create between 40,000 to 50,000 sustainable jobs by 2014.[23]

Transformation Agenda[edit]

In 2011, President Jonathan launched the Transformation Agenda. The Transformation Agenda is based on a summary of how the Federal Government hopes to deliver projects, programmes, and key priority policies, from 2011 to 2015 coordinated by the National Planning Commission (NPC).[24]

On 11 September 2013, President Jonathan sacked the creator and coordinator of the Transformation Agenda, Shamsudeen Usman, the Minister of National Planning. He was sacked along with eight other cabinet ministers amid a rift in the People's Democratic Party (PDP).[25]

Foreign policy[edit]

According to President Jonathan, Nigeria's foreign policy was reviewed to reflect a “citizen-focused” foreign policy 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.[26]

Acting president[edit]

On 9 February 2010, a motion from the Nigerian Senate confirmed the powers to Goodluck Johnathan to act as President of the federation because President Yar'Adua went for medical treatment in Saudi Arabia in November 2009.[27] 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.[28]

Acting President Jonathan also promised to continue implementing the Seven-point agenda policy framework of President Umaru Musa Yar’adua.[29]


As Vice-President, Jonathan took on a very low profile while recognising the constitutional limits of the Vice-President office, he participated in cabinet meetings and, by statute, membership in the National Security Council, the National Defence Council, Federal Executive Council, and 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.[30]

Governor of Bayelsa[edit]

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 the indictment of his wife by the nation's anti-crime agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), for crimes related to money laundering.[8]

Deputy Governor of Bayelsa[edit]

On 29 May 1999, Jonathan was sworn in as Deputy Governor of Bayelsa alongside Diepreye Alamieyeseigha who was sworn in as the governor of the state on the platform of PDP. Jonathan served as Deputy Governor until December 2005.[31]

Lead poisoning outbreak[edit]

In January 2013, Jonathan reportedly promised $4 million to assist in cleaning up villages that have been affected by a lead poisoning outbreak. Over 400 children have died and Human Rights Watch said that releasing the funds “could be lifesaving for countless children.”[32]


Malabu Oil Deal Corruption[edit]

In 2011 Goodluck Jonathan's government facilitated the transfer of payment of $1.1bn to a fake company set up by a controversial former Petroleum Minister under Sani Abacha's corrupt regime, Dan Etete. The fake company, Malabu Oil and Gas was set up in 1998 by Etete using a false identity so as to award himself a lucrative oil block, OPL245,[33] for which he paid only $2m of the $20m legally required by the state. At the time of Jonathan's government helping to facilitate the transfer of payment from Shell and Eni to the fake company, Etete was already a convicted felon of money laundering in France. The Economist reports that only $800m out of the $1.1bn meant for Malabu Oil and Gas was ever remitted by the Nigerian government. The Nigerian Attorney General, Mohammed Bello Adoke, who signed the documents involved in facilitating the payments, denied the rest was shared by public officials.[34] The transfer to convicted felon, Etete, only came to public light when a Russian lawyer that claimed to have helped Malabu negotiate a deal with the Jonathan's government sued in New York for a $66m unpaid commission.[35] Both Shell and Eni, as of September 2014, are under investigation for corruption by the UK and Italy authorities for the incidence.[36][37]

Undeclared Monies Flown on Private Jet to South Africa[edit]

On September 5th, 2014, South African customs officers at Lanseria Airport seized undisclosed and undeclared $9.3m stuffed in three suitcases carried on a private jet by 2 Nigerians and an Israeli.[38] Afterwards, Jonathan's government admitted to ownership of the funds and claimed it was intended for procurement of arms and ammunition. The money was not declared as required by law upon leaving Nigeria or arriving at South Africa.[39] It was later revealed the private jet used to transport the money was owned by the head of Christians Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor.[40] Jonathan's government progressed to avoid going through the South African judiciary system to reclaim the money and instead preferring to employ diplomatic and political channels directly through Jacob Zuma, the South African President, to get the money back.[41] On 25 October 2014, it was announced by the South African Ambassador to Nigeria that the money has been released to the Nigerian government.[42] So far, Jonathan's government have refused to name the Nigerians on the plane but the Israeli has been identified by investigation of the press as Eyal Mesika.

World Cup 2010[edit]

In 2010 after the Nigerian football team failed to progress beyond the group stage at FIFA World Cup in South Africa, Jonathan declared a two-year ban on the country's national football team from all international competitions. FIFA, the world football governing body, objected and stated that it would expel Nigeria from world football if the government interfered. Subsequently Jonathan bowed to pressure and lifted the ban.[43]

Removal of fuel subsidy[edit]

Main article: Occupy Nigeria

On 13 December 2011, the 2012 fiscal year's budget removed any provisions for the existing fuel subsidy.[44] According to a poll carried out by the Alliance for Credible Elections (ACE- Nigeria), 80% of Nigerians opposed the plan to remove the fuel subsidy.[45]

On 1 January 2012, the Jonathan administration announced the start of a controversial plan to end fuel subsidies.[46] Many prominent Nigerians spoke out against the removal of fuel subsidy by the Jonathan administration. Former Petroleum Minister Professor Tam David-West has spoken out and expressed concern that the planned removal of the fuel subsidy will squeeze the economy, increase inflation, and hurt both businesses and the public.[47]

A former military Head of State and a former Minister for Petroleum & Natural Resources, General Buhari, urged President Jonathan not to remove the fuel subsidy and to tackle corruption.[48]

General Yakubu Gowon, another former military Head of State, warned the government that the country's infrastructure should be revived before fuel subsidy removal steps were taken.[49]

Former military president Gen. Ibrahim Babangida joined millions of Nigerians protesting against the removal of the fuel subsidy by the Jonathan administration, saying that the action is ill-timed.[50]

Following the The Nigeria Labour Congress' warning that the country faces many strikes, the country unions followed up with strikes that were matched with civil protests from 9–13 January 2012. Protesters and groups called for President Jonathan to resign over the removal of fuel subsidies.[51][52] After five days of national protests and strikes, on 16 January, Jonathan announced that the pump price of petroleum would be 97 naira per litre as against the 147 naira the planned government's removal of subsidies would have taken the price to.[53]

1 October 2010 Independence Day bomb[edit]

During his South African magistrate court trial on 2 May 2012, MEND's (Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta) former leader Henry Okah came out and insisted that President Jonathan masterminded the 1 October 2010 independence day bomb attacks. He told the court that President Jonathan and his aides organised the attacks in Abuja in a desperate political strategy to demonise political opponents, including the former military President General Ibrahim Babangida, and to win popular sympathy ahead of the 2011 elections.[54]

The Nigerian Presidency has denied the allegations of terrorism leveled against President Jonathan. A media statement was issued on 2 May 2012, acknowledging the accusations from Okah. The statement went on to say that: “The Presidency categorically affirms that these allegations are false in their entirety and without any factual foundation." The Presidency also expressed no interest in commenting further for the time being, but planned to "make a full representation on the matter to the court when the trial opens."[55][56]

Renaming of the University of Lagos[edit]

In May 2012, President Jonathan changed the name of the University of Lagos to the Moshood Abiola University in honour of the late MKO Abiola. The action drew attention from critics; among them were pro-Abiola advocates and parties involved with the university.[57][58][59] Some critics cited that the President did not submit an appropriate bill to the legislature for the change; that the University's brand name should not be tampered with. The UNILAG Alumni Association commented that although they do not have prejudice against MKO Abiola, they were concerned "that neither the Governing Council nor the University Senate nor any other stakeholder was consulted before the change was announced."[60] Bola Tinubu congratulated Jonathan for taking action, but urged him to "do it right", adding that "we must be careful not to localise or sectionalise MKO". The President has attempted to regularise the renaming of the school by submitting a bill for an amendment of the University's establishing law to the legislature.

Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act[edit]

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 organizations and gay marriages. Penalties can be up to 14 years in prison for gay marriages and up to 10 years for other violations of the law.[61] 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 were already 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 5 years.[62] His decision and the law itself have been described as controversial.[63]

Security challenges[edit]

On 26 August 2011, after the UN building in Abuja was bombed by Boko Haram, 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."[64]

In response to the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta's attack on an oil pipeline on 4 February 2012 in Bayelsa,[65] the Senate President David Mark stated that the security situation in the country is "intolerable".[66]

On 14 May 2013, Jonathan declared a state of emergency in three northeastern Nigerian states, Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa to curtail the activities of Boko Haram.[67] Although initially offering amnesty, by June 2013 he ordered for 20-year jail terms for anyone found to be in support of Boko Haram.[68]

On 16 January 2014, it was reported that Jonathan had sacked his military high command in response to their inability to end the Islamist-led insurgency in Northern Nigeria.[69]

Jonathan's administration has been pressured to bring back the over 200 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram. There have been several demonstrations calling for the government to be more responsive, and Jonathan has asked that demonstrators focus on blaming Boko Haram itself for the abductions.[70] Jonathan at one stage signaled his government would do a prisoner release in exchange for the kidnapped girls. Discussions then took place in Paris with foreign ministers from France, Britain, the United States and Israel, where he agreed no deals should be struck with terrorists. He then called off the exchange at the last minute on 24 May 2014. This about-turn reportedly enraged Boko Haram leaders.[71]


  1. ^ a b Lawson Heyford, "Jonathan: A Colossus at 49", The Source (Lagos), 11 December 2006
  2. ^ Profile: Goodluck Jonathan. Al
  4. ^ "Jonathan Did Not Finish his PhD Course -Obasanjo Speaks on Buhari’s Certificate Saga". 
  5. ^ "Obasanjo Speaks On Buhari’s Certificate Saga". 
  6. ^ "Profile: Goodluck Jonathan". BBC News. 6 May 2010. Retrieved 6 May 2010. 
  7. ^ "Profile: Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria's unlikely leader". BBC. 22 February 2010. Retrieved 22 February 2010. 
  8. ^ a b "Profiles". 
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ President,Commander-In-Chief.aspx News Agency of Nigeria story on newly sworn President Jonathan[dead link]
  12. ^ "Nigeria swears in new president". Al Jazeera. 6 May 2010. Retrieved 6 May 2010. 
  13. ^ "NASS confirms Sambo as vice president". Punch Newspaper
  14. ^ "National Assembly confirms Sambo as Vice President", Liberty News
  15. ^ "Goodluck Jonathan Defeats Atiku in PDP Presidential Primary". 
  16. ^ "Goodluck Jonathan sworn in as Nigerian president". The Guardian (London). 29 May 2011. Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  17. ^ Nuhu Ribadu for President 2011 :: Official Website. (15 April 2011).
  18. ^ CNN report on the 2011 general election in Nigeria. CNN.
  19. ^ "Nigeria's Jonathan declared winner of election". Reuters. 18 April 2011. 
  20. ^ Roadmap for Power Sector Reform. (PDF).
  21. ^ Nigeria takes next step in power privatization. Reuters.
  22. ^ (PHCN). Nigeria Electricity Privatisation.
  23. ^ "Nigeria: Government Launches YOUWIN to Curb Unemployment". 
  24. ^ "Transformation Agenda". 
  25. ^ "Nigeria's Goodluck Jonathan sacks ministers amid PDP splits". BBC News. 11 September 2013. 
  26. ^ "President Jonathan on Review of Nigeria's Foreign Policy". 
  27. ^ "Nigeria's Goodluck Jonathan 'is acting president'". BBC News. 25 February 2010. Retrieved 25 February 2010. 
  28. ^ "Jonathan Redeploys Aondoakaa". 
  29. ^ "Seven-point agenda alive – Jonathan – Daily Trust". 
  30. ^ "Profile: Nigeria's Goodluck Jonathan". BBC News. 11 September 2013. 
  31. ^ "The man Goodluck Ebele Jonathan". 
  32. ^ McNeil, Jr., Donald (29 January 2013). "Nigeria: Money Promised to Clean Up Lead That Killed Hundreds of Children". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 February 2013. 
  33. ^ "How Ex-Nigerian Petroleum Minister, Dan Etete, Laundered Millions Of Dollars". Sahara Reporters. 16 June 2013. 
  34. ^ "Safe sex in Nigeria". The Economists. 15 June 2013. 
  35. ^ "Nigeria oil deal puts focus on energy sector". Financial Times. 20 May 2012. 
  36. ^ "UK police probing Shell, ENI Nigerian oil block deal". Reuters. 24 July 2014. 
  37. ^ "Eni chief under investigation". Energy News Premium. 12 September 2014. 
  38. ^ "South Africa probes two Nigerians, Israeli over $9.3 million cash seizure". Reuters. 15 September 2014. 
  39. ^ "$9.3m Traced to Intelligence Agency as Nigeria, S’Africa Open Talks on Seized Cash". ThisDay. 17 September 2014. 
  40. ^ "$9.3m arms deal: Oritsejafor opens up". Nigerian Guardian Newspaper. 30 September 2014. 
  41. ^ "We’ll return Nigeria’s $15m soon – S-Africa". Nigerian Vanguard Newspaper. 15 October 2014. 
  42. ^ "$9.3m arms deal: South Africa returns seized $15m to Nigeria". Nigerian Punch Newspaper. 25 October 2014. 
  43. ^ "World Cup 2010: Nigerian president lifts ban on team". BBC News. 5 July 2010. 
  44. ^ "Nigeria's President Removes Petrol Subsidy". 
  45. ^ "80% Of Nigerians Oppose Subsidy Removal – Pollsters". 
  46. ^ "Nigeria fuel subsidy end raises protest fears". BBC News. 1 January 2012. 
  47. ^ "Subsidy removal will choke economy, says David-West". 
  48. ^ "Buhari to Jonathan – Leave Subsidy, Tackle Graft". 
  49. ^ "Gowon to Jonathan: don’t remove subsidy now". 
  50. ^ "IBB: Deregulation Ill-timed". 
  51. ^ "Protests in Lagos, Ibadan Over Removal of Subsidy". 
  52. ^ "Subsidy Removal – CNPP Calls for Jonathan's Resignation". 
  53. ^ "Nigeria Cuts Fuel Prices After Strike, Protests". 
  54. ^ "'Jonathan Begged Me To Blame North For October 1 Blasts', Henry Okah Claims". 
  55. ^ "Okah Lied over Oct 2010 Bombing". 
  56. ^ "Jonathan denies allegations that he masterminded Independence Day bombings". 
  57. ^ Soyinka, Wole. "Goodluck Jonathan's Gift Horse By Wole Soyinka". Daily Post. Retrieved 8 June 2012. 
  58. ^ Babalola, Afe. "Renaming UNILAG is illegal and unconstitutional (2)". Punch. Retrieved 8 June 2012. 
  59. ^ Various (1 June 2012). "Tinubu, Fayemi, others reject UNILAG renaming". Punch. Retrieved 8 June 2012. 
  60. ^ Sahara Reporters (30 May 2012). "UNILAG Alumni Association rejects institution's name change by Jonathan". Information Nigeria. Retrieved 8 June 2012. 
  61. ^ Associated Press (13 January 2014) Nigeria's president signs law imposing up to 14 years' jail for gay relationships The Guardian. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  62. ^ "Nigeria's president signs law imposing up to 14 years' jail for gay relationships". The Guardian. 13 January 2014. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  63. ^ "Nigeria’s religious leaders welcome controversial anti-gay law". 
  64. ^ "Nigerian leader vows to fight terrorism after UN attack". BBC News. 28 August 2011. 
  65. ^ "Nigerian Militant Group MEND Says It Attacked Eni Pipeline". 
  66. ^ "Nigeria's security situation 'intolerable': senate president". 
  67. ^ Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan declares emergency in 3 states. Retrieved 4 June 2013
  68. ^ Nigeria orders 20-year jail term for Boko Haram support. Retrieved 4 June 2013
  69. ^ Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan sacks military chiefs
  70. ^ Blame Boko Haram for the abduction of Chibok girls - Jonathan. Retrieved 24 May 2014
  71. ^ "Nigerian government 'called off deal' to free kidnapped girls". Nigeria Sun. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Ayoade, John A., and Adeoye A. Akinsanya, eds. Nigeria's Critical Election, 2011 (Lexington Books; 2012)

Political offices
Preceded by
Diepreye Alamieyeseigha
Governor of Bayelsa State
Succeeded by
Timipre Sylva
Preceded by
Atiku Abubakar
Vice President of Nigeria
Succeeded by
Namadi Sambo
Preceded by
Umaru Yar'Adua
President of Nigeria
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Umaru Yar'Adua
Chairperson of the Economic Community of West African States
Succeeded by
Alassane Ouattara
Party political offices
Preceded by
Umaru Yar'Adua
People's Democratic Party nominee for President of Nigeria
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