- Category: Politics
- Published on Thursday, 06 May 2010 03:12
- Written by Champion
- Hits: 2287
It was in 1999 When the people of Otuike Community in Ogbia Local government area of Bayelsa State passed a resolution that one of their illustrious sons, Goodluck Jonathan (a.k.a Azikwe), should run with Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha as a deputy governorship candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in the governorship election. Hardly did people of the small community know that by this singular decision, one of their sons was on the way to becoming the President of Nigeria.
Picture: President Goodluck Jonathan (Nigeria's 14th President)
But his father, Pa Ebele Jonathan, had objected to his son getting into the murky water of politics as he was of the view that his son’s career in Oil
Minerals Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC) was about to be truncated through politics.
However, as fate would have it, 11 years after, an Otuike son - Jonathan - former teacher, former deputy governor, and former governor of Bayelsa State, is now the 14th president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria following the death of President Yar'Adua.
Acting President Jonathan was born on November 20, 1957 to a humble family in Otuike Community in Ogbia local government area of Bayelsa State. He started his primary education at St. Stephen’s Primary School (now State School Otuoke) and later proceeded to St. Michael’s Primary School, Oloibiri, where he bagged his First School Leaving Certificate. He attended Mater Dei High School, Imiringi where he sat and passed West African School Certificate Examination (WASCE) in 1975.
After secondary school, he got a job in the Department of Customs and Excise where he worked as a Preventive Officer from 1975 to 1977.
He had to quit Customs after he gained admission into the University of Port Harcourt in 1977, where he bagged a B.Sc. Zoology, Second Class in 1981.
As a member of the National Youth Service (NYSC) in 1981, he served as a teacher in Iresi Community Secondary School, Iresi, Oyo State (now Osun State). After the mandatory service, Jonathan was invited for a teaching appointment by the old Rivers State Civil Service Commission in 1982. He was appointed a Science Inspector of Education in the Ministry of Education.
In 1983, he quit the civil service and joined the College of Education Port Harcourt as a Biology Teacher. He enrolled again for a post-graduate programme in the University of Port Harcourt, earning a Master of Science (M.Sc.) degree in Hydro-Biology and Fisheries Biology in 1985 and also a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Zoology in 1995.
Jonathan was appointed an Assistant Director in the defunct Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC) in March 1993.
He is a member of various professional bodies, including the Fisheries Society of Nigeria (FISON), a Fellow of the International Association of Impact Assessment (IAIA), a Fellow of the Public Administrators of Nigeria (PAN), and an Honorary Fellowship of the Nigerian Environmental Society.
His Political Journey
When the military lifted the ban on politics in 1998, the race for the governorship election commenced and Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha emerged as the candidate of the PDP in Bayelsa State, the party was desperately searching for a running mate that will satisfy the geographical and zoning arrangement in the state.
The leaders of the party approached the elders of Otuike to nominate somebody for the post of the deputy governorship candidate. The elders had no problem in settling for Goodluck Jonathan a native of the community who was a senior officer at OMPADEC as Alamieyeseigha’s running mate. The duo won the election and were sworn in as governor and deputy governor respectively in 1999.
After completing the first term with his boss, he was again nominated for a second term because of what the then governor described as his intelligence, strength and tact.
According to Alamieyeseigha, Jonathan has impressive attributes and rare disposition. However, while serving as deputy governor for a second term in 2005, a political crisis ensued in the state which eventually led to the impeachment of the governor and he had to assume office of governor from December 9, 2005 to May 29, 2007, thus beginning a journey to political stardom.
Again luck smiled on Jonathan in 2007, just as he was about to finish his tenure, he was picked among scores of aspirants as a running mate to President Umaru Musa Ya’Adua by former President Olusegun Obasanjo. He became the Vice President of Nigeria on May 29, 2007.
As a loyal, dutiful and obedient deputy, when his boss took ill again in 2009 and had to be admitted in a Saudi Hospital for medical treatment, Jonathan did not betray the confidence reposed in him, as he carried out his duties diligently and helped stabilised the polity even as his boss failed to transmit a letter to the National Assembly to enable him act as president.
As Jonathan waited patiently for Yar’Adua to comply with section 145 of the constitution by transmitting a letter to the National Assembly for him to be acting president, members of the president’s kitchen cabinet, led by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Michael Aondooakaa, started playing political chess game with the issue.
Although it was apparent that no minister has access to the ailing president, yet the cabinet passed a resolution that Yar’Adua is "as fit as a fiddle", and therefore capable of carrying out his duties.
When the matter was dragging for too long, elder statesmen including former head of states had to persuade the National Assembly to take action and save the nation from further drift.
After weeks of dilly-dallying, both the senate and the house of representatives passed resolutions mandating the Vice President to assume the post of acting president of Nigeria pending the arrival of the president from his medical vacation.
The motion to empower Jonathan as acting President was first passed by the Senate. The House however made a volte-face on Tuesday last week after it had earlier thrown out a motion, seeking to compel the President to transmit to the National Assembly a letter conveying his absence.
The resolution, which was two-pronged, has effectively enabled the Vice-President to perform the functions of a president and will also enable him transmit executive communications to the Upper House for legislative action.
The resolution, according to the upper legislative house, was based on the BBC broadcast of January 12, 2010 by Yar’Adua in which he said he was receiving medical treatment in Saudi Arabia and when his doctors certify him fit, he would return to the country to assume his duties.