Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan GCFR, GCON (born 20 November 1957) is a Nigerian politician who served as the President of Nigeria from 2010 to 2015. He lost the 2015 presidential election to former military head of state General Muhammadu Buhari, marking the first time in the history of Nigeria that an incumbent president lost re-election and conceded defeat. Prior to that, he served as Vice President of Nigeria from 2007 to 2010; and in oil-rich Bayelsa State as Governor of Bayelsa State from 2005 to 2007.
Jonathan was born on 20 November 1957 in Ogbia to a Christian family of canoe makers, from the Ijaw minority ethnic group. He received a bachelor degree in zoology (second-class honours), a masters degree in hydrobiology and fisheries biology; and a doctorate in zoology from the University of Port Harcourt.
Before his entry into politics in 1998, he worked as an education inspector, a lecturer and an environmental-protection officer.
Deputy Governor of Bayelsa
On 29 May 1999, Jonathan was sworn in as Deputy Governor of Bayelsa alongside Diepreye Alamieyeseigha who came in as the governor of the state on the platform of PDP. Jonathan served as Deputy Governor until December 2005.
Governor of Bayelsa
On 9 December 2005, Jonathan, who was the deputy governor at the time, was sworn in as the 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.
Vice President of Nigeria
As a vice-president, Jonathan took a very low profile. While recognising the constitutional limits of the vice-president’s office, he participated in cabinet meetings and, by statute, was a member of the National Security Council, the National Defence Council, the Federal Executive Council, and was the Chairman of National Economic Council.
Goodluck Jonathan was instrumental in negotiating an agreement with many of the major militant groups in the Niger Delta, to lay down their weapons and stop fighting as part of a government amnesty.
Main article: Presidency of Goodluck Jonathan
On 9 February 2010, following a controversial doctrine of necessity from the Nigerian Senate, Goodluck Jonathan was named acting President due to President Yar’Adua’s trip to Saudi Arabia in November 2009 for medical treatment. On 10 February 2010, during his first day as acting president, Jonathan announced a minor cabinet reshuffle.
Since leaving office, Jonathan has continued to defend his administration. In 2019, he was appointed as the honorary Special Adviser to the Bayelsa Education Trust Fund Board. In June 2019, Goodluck Jonathan emerged as chairperson of the newly inaugurated International Summit Council for Peace (ISCP). In July 2020, Jonathan was appointed Special Envoy of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS); to lead mediation talks during the 2020 Malian protests.
Jonathan and his wife, Dame Jonathan Patience, have two children, Ariwera (Son) and Aruabai (daughter).
In 2007, Jonathan declared his assets worth a total of ₦295,304,420 (then equivalent to US$8,569,662).