First president of Cameroon (1960-82)
(Aug. 24, 1924, Garoua, Cameroon — Nov. 30, 1989, Dakar, Senegal)
Ahmadou Ahidjo (Babatoura), Cameroonian school teacher, politician and statesman.
- First elected to the territorial assembly in 1947
- President of the territorial assembly in 1956-57
- Cameroon member of the Assembly of the French Union (1953-56).
- Vice premier and minister of the interior in the first Cameroon government (1957),
- In 1958 he formed a new party, the Cameroonian Union, which favoured continued strong ties with France, and became premier. The more radical Union of the Populations of Cameroon (UPC), which advocated immediate independence, had meanwhile launched a revolt against the French administration. He used French troops to put down the rebels, but he also offered amnesty to those who would surrender.
- Elected first president of the Republic of Cameroon (1960)
- He persuaded the southern, British Cameroons, to unite with the Cameroon Republic to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon in 1961.
- Reelected in 1965, 1970, 1975, and 1980, he managed to build up a stable, relatively prosperous country.
- In 1966 he outlawed all political parties but his own.
- He also successfully suppressed the UPC rebellion, capturing the last important rebel leader in 1970.
- In 1972 he secured adoption of a new unitary constitution, creating the United Republic of Cameroon, although unitary government was unpopular.
- He resigned on Nov. 6, 1982, saying he was suffering from “exhaustion.”
- His successor Paul Biya proceeded to oust Ahidjo from chairmanship of the ruling party in 1983.
- Thereafter he lived in exile in Senegal and France and in 1984 he was, in absentia, condemned to death for complicity in a plot against Biya.
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