Position: Nigerian President
Incumbent: Goodluck Jonathan
Date of Birth: Nov. 20, 1957
Term: Sworn in as president on May 6, 2010, after the death of his predecessor, faces elections in April 2011.
-- President Goodluck Jonathan, the first Nigerian head of state from the southern Niger Delta oil region, inherited the country’s highest office after the death of predecessor Umaru Yar‘Adua in May 2010.
-- Usually dressed in a fedora hat and traditional kaftan-like robes, or agbada, his biggest policy drives have been plans for the multi-billion-dollar privatisation of the domestic power sector and efforts to improve security in the delta, home to Africa’s biggest oil and gas industry.
-- He helped broker an amnesty with militant groups in the restive wetlands region in August 2009, while still vice president to Yar‘Adua, but resurgent violence risks undermining his credibility ahead of April’s elections which he plans to contest on the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) ticket.
-- His candidacy is controversial because of a pact in the PDP that power rotates every two terms between the country’s mostly Muslim north and predominantly Christian south. Jonathan is a southerner, and Yar‘Adua -- a northerner -- died part way through his first term.
-- It is not the first time that Jonathan has found himself catapulted to high office by accident rather than design.
-- He won election in 1999 as deputy governor of Bayelsa, one of three main states in the Niger Delta, but became governor six years later after his boss was impeached.
-- Born to a family of canoe makers, he studied zoology and worked as an education inspector, lecturer and environmental protection officer before going into politics in 1998. He has a PhD in zoology.
-- The presidency website says he has been fascinated by nature since childhood, particularly the aquatic life of the mangrove creeks and waterways of his native Niger Delta. (For more Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: af.reuters.com/) (Reporting by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Louise Ireland)