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Hamani Diori

In office
November 10, 1960 â€“ April 15, 1974
Preceded by Himself as Prime Minister of Niger, French Community
Succeeded by Seyni KountchĂ©

Born June 6, 1916(1916-06-06)
Soudouré, Niger, French West Africa
Died April 23, 1989 (aged 72)
Rabat, Morocco
Political party PPN-RDA

Hamani Diori (6 June 1916 – 23 April 1989) was the first President of the Republic of Niger. He was appointed to that office in 1960, when Niger gained independence.



Né dans la ville de Soudouré près de la capitale nigérienne de Niamey, Diori était le fils d'un Djerma responsable de la santé publique dans les administration coloniale française. Il a assisté à l ' William Ponty Teachers' Training College à Dakar, Sénégal, a travaillé comme enseignant au Niger de 1936 à 1938, puis en tant que haoussa et Djerma instructeur de langue à l'Institut d'études à l'étranger dans Paris.

Independence struggle

In 1946, while working as the headmaster of a school in Niger’s capital city of Niamey, he became one of the founders of the Nigerien Progressive Party (PPN), a regional branch of the African Democratic Rally (RDA). Later that year, he was elected to the French National Assembly. In the 1951 election, Diori was defeated by his cousin and political rival Djibo Bakary. He was again elected to the assembly in 1956, and was chosen deputy-speaker.

In 1958, after a referendum that granted Niger self-government, Diori became president of the provisional government. He then became Prime Minister of the republic in 1959. During this period, the French government banned all political parties except the PPN, effectively making Niger a one-party state.

Traditionalist coalition

Niger gained independence from France on 3 August 1960 and Diori was elected president by the country's national assembly in November 1960. Organizing a powerful coalition of Hausa, Fula, and (most prominently) Djerma leaders, including chiefs and traditionalists, in support of Niger’s independence referendum, Diori gained French favor.

First president

During his presidency, Diori's government favored the maintenance of traditional social structures and the retention of close economic ties with France. From the early 1960s, the government ruled through a small number of pre-independence figures who sat on the PPN Politburo and largely bypassed even the cabinet. As well as holding the posts of Head of State, Head of Government, and Head of the ruling party, Diori directly led a number of Ministries. From 1960 to 1963 he was Minister of Defense of Niger and Foreign Minister of Niger, and again took over the Foreign Ministry from 1965 to 1967.[1] Most prominent, and perhaps most powerful, was writer and President of the National Assembly of Niger, Boubou Hama, who one writer has called the "eminence grise" behind Diori's rule.[2] The National Assembly of Niger met in largely ceremonial yearly sittings to ratify government positions. Traditional notables, elected as parliamentary representatives, often unanimously endorsed government proposals. Diori was re-elected unopposed in 1965 and 1970.[3]

He gained worldwide respect for his role as a spokesman for African affairs and as a popular arbitrator in conflicts involving other African nations. Domestically, however, his administration was rife with corruption, and the government was unable to implement much-needed reforms or to alleviate the widespread famine brought on by the Sahelian drought of the early 1970s. Increasingly criticized at home for his negligence in domestic matters, Diori put down a coup in 1963 and narrowly escaped assassination in 1965. Faced with an attempted military coup and attacks by members of Sawaba, he used French advisers and troops to repress opposition, despite student and union protests against French neocolonialism. However, his relationship with France suffered when his government voiced dissatisfaction with the level of investment in uranium production when Georges Pompidou visited Niger in 1972.

Unrest and fall

Widespread civil disorder followed allegations that some government ministers were misappropriating stocks of food aid and accused Diori of consolidating power. Diori limited cabinet appointments to fellow Djerma, family members, and close friends. In addition, he acquired new powers by declaring himself the minister of foreign and defense affairs. On 15 April 1974, Lieutenant colonel Seyni Kountché led a military coup that ended Diori's rule. He was imprisoned for six years. After his release in 1980, he remained under house arrest until 1987.

After being released from house arrest, he moved to Morocco, where he died on 23 April 1989 at the age of 72.


  1. ^ Decale (1997) p. 105.
  2. ^ Samuel Decalo. Coups and Army Rule in Africa, Yale University Press (1990). ISBN 030004458
  3. ^ Samuel Decalo. Historical Dictionary of Niger (3rd ed.). Scarecrow Press, Boston & Folkestone, (1997) ISBN 0810831368
  • Samuel Decalo. Historical Dictionary of Niger. Scarecrow Press, London and New Jersey (1979). ISBN 0810812290
  • Appiah, Kwame Anthony & Gates Jr, Henry Louis: Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience: Basic Civitas Books: New York: 1999
  • AndrĂ© Salifou. Hamani Diori. pp. 67-97 in La francophonie des "Pères fondateurs", Papa Alioune Ndao (ed.). Paris: KARTHALA Editions, (2008) ISBN 2811100369
Preceded by
Prime Minister of Niger
Succeeded by
Post Abolished
Preceded by
President of Niger
Succeeded by
Seyni Kountché
Preceded by
Adamou Mayaki
Foreign Minister of Niger
1965–14 April 1967
Succeeded by
Abdou Sidikou
Preceded by
Foreign Minister of Niger
Succeeded by
Adamou Mayaki


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