Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is the former and 14th president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from 2010 to 2015 and also a former Governor of Bayelsa state (from 2005 to 2007)who has spent many years in power and government.
He faced many challenges ranging from corruption to terrorist attacks by the Boko Haram sect. However, he improved Nigeria’s economy and brought about many developments. According to many, he made life easy and better for Nigerians through his innovations, infrastructure, and programs, lots of job opportunities made available and empowerment schemes.
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Chief amongst them was the YOUWIN and the reestablishment of the Nigerian Railway System. Also during his tenure as president and had many oppositions.
He was the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa from 29 May 1999 to December 2005 and the Governor of Bayelsa from 9 December 2005 – 29 May 2007. From that position, he later became the Vice President of Nigeria, a running mate of then president Musa Yar’Adua from 29 May 2007 – 5 May 2010.
Later he was the Nigeria president from 5 May 2010 – 29 May 2015. Having contested in the 2015 General Elections and lost to Gen Muhammadu Buhari, he became the first sitting president to lose power to his opponent. However, one thing is clear about Goodluck Jonathan, he is a gentle and humble man.
He had promised Nigerians prior to the elections that no person’s blood would be spilled and that elections would be free and fair. He fulfilled that by handing over power to Gen Muhammadu Buhari who was declared the winner.
In this article, we bring you the biography and net worth and important facts about the former president.
Early life and Education
Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan was born in Bayelsa State on 20 November 1957 in Ogbia which is his hometown.
His parents were Lawrence Ebele Jonathan and MRS Eunice who were poor canoe makers.
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It is said that he was named Goodluck by his poor parents who had issues with childbirth. Many of their children died as they could not survive childhood. Hence he was named Goodluck, with much hope he would survive and bring good fortune to his poor family.
He is currently 62 years old and attended Christian Primary and Secondary school He is a graduate who holds a B.Sc. degree in Zoology (1981), M.Sc. degree in Hydrobiology and Fisheries biology, and a Ph.D. degree in Zoology from the University of Port Harcourt (1995).
Goodluck Jonathan has worked as an education inspector, a lecturer, while he was studying at the University of Port Harcourt he taught at Rivers State College of Education from 1983 until 1993. He also worked as an education inspector and environmental-protection officer before venturing into politics.
He was also appointed an assistant director at the Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission, a post he held till 1998.
Having joined the People’s Democratic Party in the 1990s, he was chosen as the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa state under the Diepreye Alamieyeseigha government. He assumed this office on 29 May 1999 after being sworn in as the Deputy Governor of the state.
On the 9th of December 2005, Goodluck Jonathan who was Deputy Governor was sworn in as Governor of Bayelsa State. This happened after the impeachment of the current Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha by the Bayelsa State Assembly after he was charged with money laundering in the United Kingdom.
His wife was accused of money-laundering by Nigeria’s anti-crime agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He was later to become Vice-President and running mate to late president Musa Yar’Adua. While in office, he was gentle and submissive, participating in cabinet meetings, the National Security Council and the National Defence Council, the Federal Executive Council.
He was Chairman of National Economic Council. While he was Vice-President, he was able to succeed in negotiating with militants in the Niger Delta insurgency, who were fighting against petroleum companies operating in the delta region.
In 2010, the incumbent President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua suffered from serious health problems. He was flown out of the country for his medical treatment on many occasions. This led to a demand for a new president as the governance of the country suffered.
This situation led to Members of Nigeria’s National Assembly to vote Goodluck Jonathan to assume the office of the president, for the time being, he served as the acting president in February 2010.
However, with the President Yar Adua’s death and tragedy on 5 May 2010 Jonathan was sworn in as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria the next day and became Nigeria’s 14th Head of State and commander-in-chief of the federal armed forces of Nigeria.
On assuming office, he promised to uphold and continue on the Seven-Point Agenda of Yar’Adua’s administration.
Some Important Facts About Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and His Administration
- He kickstarted YOUWIN (Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria) on 11 October 2011. Through this programme, he was able to create 40,000 to 50,000 sustainable jobs by 2014 for people between the ages of 18 and 35.
- Jonathan is the first sitting Nigerian president to concede defeat, losing to President Muhammadu Buhari.
- He is the first President to evacuate Nigerians from trouble spots overseas by airlifting thousands of stranded citizens back home.
- He revived the Railways back to life after 20 years of lull in the sector, Colonial laws under review, States and Private investors welcome in the railways’ sector, becoming the first to do so.
- He became the first Nigerian president that rehabilitated Benin-Ore road after 20 years.
- He set up Nine New Varsities, to accommodate the ever-increasing number of admission candidates.
- First president to rejuvenate our comatose Railways back to life after 20 years of lull in the sector, Colonial laws under review, States and Private investors welcome in the railways’ sector.
- He is the first president to appoint a woman as the Chief Justice of Nigeria. He believes and supports woman leadership, having appointed many women into leadership positions in his administration.
- He is the first president from the Southern part of Nigeria with no political and military background.
- He is also known as the first president to fulfill most of his promises to Nigerians.
- He is also the first president to review the salary structure of government employees. Their salary structure and grading are now based on their performances.
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is married to his wife Patience Jonathan who has been with him even before entering politics. She was a teacher before becoming the first lady. She studied Biology and psychology from the University of Port Harcourt.
She has also served as Permanent Secretary in Bayelsa State. They are blessed with two children together, Ariwera Jonathan and Aruabi Jonathan. He is a Christian from the Ijaw ethnic group.
When he was sworn in as the president of Nigeria, he had to declare has assets as demanded by the constitution. President Jonathan declared his assets in 2007, worth a total of “₦ 295,304,420 Naira, about ($1,845,652 USD)”.
However in October 2014, a magazine website richestlifestyle.com ranked him the richest president in Africa in October 2014, Jonathan occupied the sixth wealthiest spot in Nigeria. The website claimed his net worth was about “$100m (£62m)”.
This made Jonathan so disappointed about the ranking and he threatened to sue the website. He claimed it “was an attempt to portray him as corrupt.” Later the page was removed but was published by another website which has no legal identity.
Goodluck lives in an estate in Otuoke in Bayelsa State very close to the Local Government. Inside the estate is eight fenced buildings with security rooms and offices. He also has a four bedroom duplex in Gwarimpa Abuja.