Goodluck Jonathan was a former Nigerian President who served from 2010 to 2015. Before he became Nigerian president, he served as a vice president from 2007 to 2010. Also, previously he served as a Governor of Bayelsa State from 2005 to 2007.
Goodluck Jonathan is among the top respected Nigerian leaders. He earned the respect due to the fact that he allowed democracy to continue by conceding defeat during the 2015 Presidential election.
Early Life and Education
Goodluck Jonathan was born on 20 November 1957, in Otuake, Ogbia Local Government, Bayelsa State. His parents were both of the Ijaw ethnic backgrounds. Also, his parents were poor who depended on canoe making to earn their living. He earned his early education in his hometown. He later earned his Bs.c in Zoology from the University of Port Harcourt in 1981, and a Ms.c in hydrobiology in 1985. In 1995, he earned a Ph.D. in Zoology.
Early Career of Goodluck Jonathan
In 1983, Goodluck Jonathan became a lecturer at the Rivers State College of Education. He remained at the College until 1993 when he got a new job.
In 1993, he was appointed Assistant Director at the Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission. He served in the Commission for five years until 1993.
Political Career of Goodluck Jonathan
In 1998, Goodluck Jonathan entered into politics by joining the newly created political party the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Fortunately, in 1999 he became the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State during the 1999 election.
In December 2005, Goodluck Jonathan became the executive Governor of Bayelsa State after the current Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha was impeached by the Bayelsa State Assembly based on corruption charges.
In 2006, Goodluck Jonathan was chosen to be the running mate of the PDP presidential candidate Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’adua for the upcoming 2007 presidential election.
In April 2007 the Yar’adua/Jonathan presidential ticket won the election. Therefore, Goodluck Jonathan automatically became the Vice President of Nigeria. During his tenure as a Vice President of Nigeria, Jonathan became an instrumental figure who helped in the negotiation between Nigerian Government and the Niger-Delta militants.
In 2009, Goodluck Jonathan became the Acting-President of Nigeria after President Umaru Musa Yar’adua fall ill. Later, in May 2010 Jonathan became the Nigerian President after the death of President Yar’adua.
In less than a year, Jonathan became the presidential candidate of the PDP for the upcoming 2011 Presidential Election. In April 2011, Jonathan won the Nigerian Presidential election after he defeated his closest rival Muhammadu Buhari of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC).
Not so long in office, Goodluck Jonathan as a president began to face national challenges. In January 2012, his government announced the plan to end the oil subsidy. However, the plan met with resistance from the National Labor Congress (NLC) who called for a nationwide strikes and demonstrations. But, later the government took measures that brought understanding.
Despite economic problems, Nigeria under Jonathan became the largest economy by GDP in Africa. Also, the oil revenue increased.
Unfortunately, during the Jonathan’s presidency corruption became rampant especially among the top government functionaries such as ministers. Over thousand trillions Naira were missed. And many of his ministers such as Diezani Madueke were accused of huge corruption by the later government of Muhammadu Buhari.
The most worst and great problem that Nigeria experienced during the Goodluck Jonathan’s administration was the insecurity of Boko Haram terrorists in the Northeastern part of the country. The Boko Haram terrorists went as far as shooting and bombing people in mosques and churches. For example, in 2014 the Boko Haram attacked the Kano Central Mosque where they killed over hundred people. Also, in April 2014, the Boko Haram kidnapped almost 200 schoolgirls at Chibok Girls Boarding School.
2015 Election and Post-presidency
As 2015 presidential election was approaching, Jonathan’s administration was facing national challenges. Many Nigerians criticized him as being incapacitated leader. Therefore, many political analysts predicted that Jonathan might lose re-election.
In March 2015, Goodluck Jonathan lost the election to his rival Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressive Congress (APC). Without hesitation, Goodluck Jonathan conceded defeat by calling Buhari and congratulated him in the phone.
After Jonathan left office, he was worldwide highly praised for conceding defeat and many people described him as a peace and democratic lover.