The first person from the continent of Africa profiled in this blog (with many more to come!), Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has had very good fortune in his life, ascending all the way to the position of President of Nigeria.
The naming tradition in Nigeria is very different from that of the Western world, where we tend to name our children with set historical names. Nigerian naming tradition is influenced by the circumstances of the birth (kids born on Sunday are often called….Sunday), or by some characteristic observed in the baby. The latter case is how Goodluck Jonathan got his name.
President Jonathan’s father told Time magazine that he had observed that the “child has that element of fortune” [and] I just said to myself, ‘this boy is lucky.’ So I decided to call him Goodluck”.
Young Goodluck went on to higher education, receiving a PhD in Zoology from the University of Port Harcourt in Nigeria, making him perhaps the only zoologist now serving as a head of state.
He ascended to the highest post in his home country after the death of the previous president, Umaru Yar’Adua, in 2010. His wife, Patience Jonathan has been noted in the international press for her humanitarian efforts both before and after his presidency. With people named Goodluck and Patience in charge, you would imagine Nigeria is now in safe hands.