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Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan is a former President of Nigeria who served from 2010 to 2015. He is the 14th Head of State in the history of Nigerian leaders.

He served as Vice-President of Nigeria from 2007 to 2010 and as Governor of Bayelsa State from 2005 to 2007. He is known as the first sitting Nigerian President who conceded defeat, after having lost an election.

He contested and lost the 2015 presidential election, ending his term as President of Nigeria on 29 May 2015, with Muhammadu Buhari becoming the new president.

Early Life

Jonathan was born in what is now Bayelsa State to a humble family of canoe makers. He holds a B.Sc. degree in Zoology which he attained with Second Class Honours.

He also holds an M.Sc. in Hydrobiology and Fisheries biology, as well as a PhD in Zoology from the University of Port Harcourt. Before he entered into the pipeline of politics in 1998, he worked as an education inspector, lecturer, and environmental-protection officer.

Goodluck Jonathan’s Political Career

Goodluck Jonathan’s journey as an elected officer of the state began on 29 May 1999, when he was sworn in as Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State. He was sworn in alongside Diepreye Alamieyeseigha who was named the governor of the state, on the platform of PDP.

Jonathan served as Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State until December 2005.

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 then Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha by the Bayelsa State Assembly after he was charged with money laundering in the United Kingdom.

Vice Presidency

Goodluck Jonathan’s political career rose even higher when he became the Vice president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2007, having been the running mate of then President Umaru Musa Yar’adua.

As Vice-President, Jonathan took a very low profile. While recognizing 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, National Defence Council, Federal Executive Council, as well as 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, to lay down their weapons and stop fighting, as part of a government amnesty programme.


On 9 February 2010, the Nigerian Senate moved a motion to invest on Goodluck Jonathan as acting President of the Federation after President Yar’adua went for a prolonged medical treatment in Saudi Arabia in November 2009.

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

Following the death of President Umaru Yar’adua on 5 May 2010, Vice President Goodluck Jonathan was sworn in as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on 6 May 2010 in accordance with the order of succession in the Nigerian constitution.

Thus, he become Nigeria’s 14th Head of State. He cited anti-corruption, power and electoral reforms as the focus of his administration. He stated that he came to office under “very sad and unusual circumstances”.

On 18 May 2010, the National Assembly approved Jonathan’s nomination of former Kaduna State governor, Namadi Sambo, for the position of Vice-President

On 15 September 2010, Jonathan announced that he had decided to run for public office for the first time in the race for the presidency of Nigeria in 2011.

In the contest for the People’s Democratic Party nomination, Goodluck Jonathan was in a stiff battle with the former vice-president Atiku Abubakar and Mrs. Sarah Jubril.

On 13 January 2011 the primary election results were announced in Eagle Square, Abuja. Jonathan was declared winner with a victory in two-thirds of the states of the Federation counted.

For the general election in 2011, Jonathan and Vice-President Sambo attended political events and traveled the country to campaign for the nation’s highest office.

Jonathan won the general election against General Muhammadu Buhari and his running mate Pastor Tunde Bakare with 59% of the votes. On 18 April, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was declared the winner of the election.

In August 2010, Jonathan launched major initiatives in reviving the nation’s economy which included the “Roadmap for Power Sector Reform”.

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).

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).

On 31 March 2015, Jonathan conceded the election to challenger Muhammadu Buhari, who was sworn in to succeed him on 29 May 2015. Jonathan said in a monumental statement he issued on 31 March 2015 that “Nobody’s ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian”. 

Personal Life

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

Goodluck Jonathan Net Worth

A little controversy ensued followingPresident Jonathan’s declaration of his assets worth a total of ₦295,304,420 Naira ($1,845,652 USD) in 2007.

It happened that in October 2014, the richestlifestyle.com website ranked Jonathan sixth on its list, claiming his net worth was about $100m (£62m). Goodluck Jonathan had threatened to sue the website, claiming it “was an attempt to portray him as corrupt.”

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