Louis XIV of France (baptised as Louis-Dieudonné) (5 September 1638 – 1 September 1715). He was so power drunk that he was reported to have said “l’état, c’est moi,” meanimg “I am the State.” It was an arrogance of absolute power.
King Charles I (19 November 1600 – 30 January 1649)[a] was the monarch over the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. He believed in the “divine rights of kings.” He was executed for treason.
Oliver Cromwell (25 April 1599 – 3 September 1658)[note 1] was an English military and political leader. He served as Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland “and of the dominions thereto belonging” from 1653 until his death, acting simultaneously as head of state and head of government of the new republic. He was posthumously executed for executing King Charles I. “On the morning of 30 January 1661, the anniversary of the execution of King Charles I, the shrouded bodies (in open coffins were dragged on a sledge through the streets of London to the gallows, where each body was hanged in full public view until around four o’clock that afternoon.”
Louis XVI (23 August 1754 – 21 January 1793), born Louis-Auguste, was the last King of France before the fall of the monarchy during the French Revolution. He was referred to as Citizen Louis Capet during the four months before he was guillotined. In 1765, at the death of his father, Louis, son and heir apparent of Louis XV, Louis-Auguste became the new Dauphin of France. Upon his grandfather’s death on 10 May 1774, he assumed the title “King of France and Navarre”, which he used until 4 September 1791, when he received the title of “King of the French” until the monarchy was abolished on 21 September 1792.
Adolf Hitler (20 April 1889 – 30 April 1945) was a German politician and leader of the Nazi Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei; NSDAP). He rose to power as Chancellor of Germany in 1933 and later Führer in 1934. During his dictatorship from 1933 to 1945, he initiated World War II in Europe by invading Poland on 1 September 1939. He was closely involved in military operations throughout the war and was central to the perpetration of the Holocaust, and the murder of 6 million Jews. He did an ethnic cleansing, just like Mohammadu Buhari is doing now.
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini (29 July 1883 – 28 April 1945) was Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Italy from the fascists’ takeover of state power in 1922 until 1943, and Duce from 1919 to his execution on April 28,1945 during the Italian civil war. As dictator of Italy and founder of fascism, Mussolini inspired several totalitarian rulers such as Adolf Hitler.
Nicolae Ceaușescu (26 January 1918 – 25 December 1989) was a Romanian communist politician and dictator. He was the General Secretary of the Romanian Communist Party from 1965 to 1989 and hence the second and last Communist leader of Romania. He was also the country’s head of state from 1967, serving as President of the State Council and from 1974 concurrently as President of the Republic until his overthrow and execution in the Romanian Revolution in December 25, 1989, part of a series of anti-Communist and anti-Soviet Union uprisings in Eastern Europe that year. He framed, jailed and murdered a lot of opposition members
Francisco Franco Bahamonde (4 December 1892 – 20 November 1975) was a Spanish general and politician who ruled over Spain as Head of State and dictator under the title Caudillo from 1939, after the Nationalist victory in the Spanish Civil War, until his death in 1975. This period in Spanish history is commonly known as Francoist Spain or Francoist dictatorship.
Josip Broz Tito (7 May 1892 – 4 May 1980), commonly known as Tito, was a Yugoslav communist revolutionary and statesman, serving in various roles from 1943 until his death in 1980. During World War II, he was the leader of the Partisans, often regarded as the most effective resistance movement in occupied Europe. While his presidency has been criticized as authoritarian and concerns about the repression of political opponents have been raised, most Yugoslavs considered him popular and a benevolent dictator. His country disintegrated after his death in to seven different entities: Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia as at the last count.
Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq (12 August 1924 – 17 August 1988) was a Pakistani four-star general who served as the 6th President of Pakistan from 1978 until his death in 1988, after declaring martial law in 1977. He remains the country’s longest-serving de facto head of state. He betrayed his benefactor and predecessor, President Zulkafir Ali Bhutto. General Zia himself was killed along with several of his top military officials and two American diplomats in a mysterious plane crash near Bahawalpur on 17 August 1988. He was believed to have been assassinated too. To this day, Zia remains a polarising figure in Pakistan’s history, decried for weakening democratic institutions and passing laws encouraging religious intolerance.
Than Shwe (born 1 February 1931 or 3 May 1933) is a Burmese strongman politician who was the head of state of Burma from 1991 to 2011 as Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC). During this period, he held key positions of power including Prime Minister of Burma, Commander-in-chief of Myanmar Defense Services and head of the Union Solidarity and Development Association. In March 2011 he officially stepped down as head of state in favour of his hand-picked successor, Thein Sein, and as head of the Armed Forces, who has been replaced being with general Min Aung Hlaing by the Burmese Armed Forces.
Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos Sr.(September 11, 1917 – September 28, 1989) was a Filipino politician and kleptocrat who was the tenth President of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986. A leading member of the far-right New Society Movement, he ruled as a dictator under martial law from 1972 until 1981. His regime was infamous for its corruption, extravagance, and brutality. He was removed by the revolt of the people.
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi ( 26 October 1919 – 27 July 1980),also known as Mohammad Reza Shah was the last Shah of Iran from 16 September 1941 until his overthrow by the Iranian Revolution on 11 February 1979. Mohammad Reza Shah took the title Shahanshah (“King of Kings”) on 26 October 1967. He was the second and last monarch of the House of Pahlavi. Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi held several other titles, including that of Aryamehr (“Light of the Aryans”) and Bozorg Arteshtaran (“Commander-in-Chief”).
Idi Amin Dada Oumee (1925 – 16 August 2003) was a Ugandan military officer who served as the President of Uganda from 1971 to 1979. Popularly known as the “Butcher of Uganda,” he is considered one of the most brutal despots in world history. Amin’s rule was characterized by rampant human rights abuses, political repression, ethnic persecution, extrajudicial killings, nepotism, corruption, and gross economic mismanagement. International observers and human rights groups estimate that between 100,000 and 500,000 people were killed under his regime. Radio Uganda announced his entire title as follows: “His Excellency President for Life, Field Marshal Alhaji Dr. Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC, CBE”. The last one “CBE” means “Conqueror of the British Empire.”
Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga (born Joseph-Désiré Mobutu; 14 October 1930 – 7 September 1997) was a Congolese politician and military officer who was the military dictator and President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (which he renamed Zaire in 1971) from 1965 to 1997. He also served as Chairman of the Organisation of African Unity from 1967 to 1968. During the Congo Crisis, Mobutu, serving as Chief of Staff of the Army and supported by Belgium and the United States, deposed the democratically elected government of nationalist Patrice Lumumba in 1960. Mobutu installed a government that arranged for Lumumba’s execution in 1961, and continued to lead the country’s armed forces until he took power directly in a second coup in 1965. Marshal Mobutu became notorious for corruption, nepotism, and the embezzlement of between US$4 billion and $15 billion during his reign. He was eventually said to be richer than his country, just as some Nigerian politicians are claiming to be richer than States in the country. He was known for extravagances such as shopping trips to Paris via the supersonic and expensive Concorde. He presided over the country for more than three decades, a period of widespread human rights violations.
Hastings Kamuzu Banda (15 February 1898 – 25 November 1997) was the prime minister and later president of Malawi from 1964 to 1994 (for the first year of his rule as it achieved independence in 1964, Malawi was the British protectorate of Nyasaland). In 1966, the country became a republic and he became president. He presided over one of the most repressive regimes in Africa. His totalitarian government regularly tortured and murdered political opponents. Human rights groups estimate that at least 6,000 people were killed, tortured and jailed without trial. As many as 18,000 people were killed during his rule according to one estimate. He received criticism for maintaining full diplomatic relations with apartheid-era South Africa.
Jaafar Muhammad an-Nimeiry (otherwise spelled in English as Jaafar Nimeiry, Jaafar Nimeiry 1 January 1930 – 30 May 2009) was the President of Sudan from 1969 to 1985. In March 1985, the announcement of the increase in the prices of basic necessities, at the request of the IMF with which the regime was negotiating, triggered the first demonstrations. On April 2, eight unions called for mobilization and a “general political strike until the abolition of the current regime”. On the 3rd, massive demonstrations shook Khartoum, but also the country’s main cities; the strike paralysed institutions and the economy. On 6 April 1985, while Nimeiry was on an official visit to the United States of America in the hope of gaining more financial aid from Washington, a bloodless military coup led by his defence minister Gen. Abdel Rahman Swar al-Dahab ousted him from power.
Ignatius Kutu Acheampong (23 September 1931 – 16 June 1979) was a military head of state of Ghanawho ruled from 13 January 1972 to 5 July 1978, when he was deposed in a palace coup. He was later executed by firing squad. There were widespread accusations of both the encouragement and endorsement of corruption in the country under his rule. Acheampong, was court martialed and executed along with General Edward Kwaku Utuka by firing squad on 16 June 1979, 10 days prior to the execution of former Heads of State (Gen. Afrifa and Gen. Akuffo) and other senior military officers (Amedume, Boakye, Felli and Kotei), following 4 June revolution that brought Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlingsand the AFRC to power.
Maurice Yaméogo (31 December 1921 – 15 September 1993) was the first President of the Republic of Upper Volta, now called Burkina Faso, from 1959 until 1966. His rather shaky political ascendancy was reinforced by circumstances. After the proclamation of the Republic of Upper Volta on 11 December 1958, he made a surprising volte-face with respect to the Mali Federation advocated by Léopold Sédar Senghor. The Voltaic assembly supported Upper Volta’s membership in the Federation, but Yaméogo opted for political sovereignty and limited economic integration with the Conseil de l’Entente. Then, by means of controversial manoeuvres, Yaméogo eliminated all parliamentary opposition. The UDV-RDA was purged of his enemies and he imposed a one party system. Upper Volta found itself under a dictatorship even before its independence on 5 August 1960. On 3 January 1966, as a result of severe financial austerity measures, Yaméogo’s corrupt regime was overthrown by a peaceful protest organised by the unions, traditional chieftains and the clergy. In 1993, he died after having been rehabilitated by President Blaise Compaoré.
Blaise Compaoré (born 3 February 1951) is a Burkinabé politician who was president of Burkina Faso from 1987 to 2014. He was a top associate of President Thomas Sankaraduring the 1980s, and in October 1987, he led a coup d’état during which Sankara was killed, dismembered and buried in a shallow grave. Subsequently, he introduced a policy of “rectification”, overturning the leftist and Third Worldist policies pursued by Sankara. He won elections in 1991, 1998, 2005, and 2010 in what were considered unfair circumstances. His attempt to amend the constitution to extend his 27-year term caused the 2014 Burkinabé uprising, with increasing demand for consequences for murder of Thomas Sankara. On 31 October 2014, Compaoré resigned, whereupon he fled to the Ivory Coast.
Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida GCFR (born 17 August 1941), is a retired Nigerian Army General who was President of Nigeria from 27 August 1985 to 26 August 1993. He previously served as the chief of army staff from January 1984 to August 1985. Babangida was a key player in most of the military coups in Nigeria (July 1966, February 1976, December 1983, August 1985, December 1985 and April 1990). The killing by a letter bomb of Dele Giwa, a magazine editor critical of Babangida’s administration, at his Lagos home in 1986 was allegedly attributed to Babangida and remains a controversial incident to this day. The Oputa Panel Report would conclude that: “On General Ibrahim Babangida, we are of the view that there is evidence to suggest that he and the two security chiefs, Brigadier General Halilu Akilu and Col. A. K. Togun are accountable for the untimely death of Dele Giwa by letter bomb. We recommend that this case be re-opened for further investigation in the public interest.” In January 1986, Babangida made Nigeria to join the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) as its 46th member. The OIC was established in 1969. The chief of staff supreme headquarters, Commodore Ebitu Okoh Ukiwe, was removed and replaced from his post as chief of staff supreme headquarters by Babangida, because Ukiwe was opposed to the registration of Nigeria, a secular country, in the OIC. Babangida himself was forced out of power as a consequence of annuling the June 12, 1993 presidential election won by late Chief M.K.O. Abiola.
Sani Abacha (20 September 1943 – 8 June 1998) was a Nigerian Army officer and dictator who served as the de facto President of Nigeria from 1993 until his death in 1998. He is also the first Nigerian soldier to attain the rank of a full star General without skipping a single rank. Abacha and his family reportedly stole a total of £5 billion from the country’s coffers. In 2004, Abacha was listed as the fourth most corrupt leader in history. During a service marking the 10th anniversary of the death of the dictator, several former Nigerian heads of state, including Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, refuted claims that Abacha looted the country, claiming such accusations are “baseless”. In March 2014, the United States Department of Justice revealed that it had frozen more than $458 million believed to have been illegally obtained by Abacha and other corrupt officials. The names of Abacha, his wife Maryam, and son Mohammed are often used in advance fee fraud (419) scams; he is identified in scam letters as the source for money that does not exist.
Major General Muhammadu Buhari GCFR (born 17 December 1942) is a Nigerian politician currently serving as the President of Nigeria, in office since 2015. He is a retired major general in the Nigerian Army and previously served as the nation’s head of state from 31 December 1983 to 27 August 1985, after taking power in a military coup d’état. The term Buharism is ascribed to the Buhari military government. Decree Number 2 of 1984, the state security and the chief of staff were given the power to detain, without charges, individuals deemed to be a security risk to the state for up to three months. Strikes and popular demonstrations were banned and Nigeria’s security agency, the National Security Organization (NSO) was entrusted with unprecedented powers. The NSO played a wide role in the cracking down of public dissent by intimidating, harassing and jailing individuals who broke the interdiction on strikes. Citizens were publicly and mercilessly whipped like goats. He ordered the kidnapping of Umaru Dikko from Great Britain. He jailed Fela Anikulapo Kuti on spurious charges. He jailed journalists Nduka Irabor and Tunde Thompson of the Guardian. He put retroactive laws in place to execute helpless citizens. He enacted many draconian decrees and he almost destroyed the country. He jailed many politicians on false accusations of “corruption,” while he was involved in smuggling of 53 suit cases allegedly stuffed with cash. He destroyed the economy, created what as at then, was unprecedented hunger and poverty. Nigerians, for the first time in their History, had to queue up for food and other essential commodities. By October 1984, about 200,000 civil servants were retrenched. In April 1985, Buhari’s junta condemned six Nigerians to death without recourse to the normal Law Courts. They were: Sidikatu Tairi, Sola Oguntayo, Oladele Omosebi, Lasunkanmi Awolola, Jimi Adebayo and Gladys Iyamah, all of them from the Southern part of the country. In August 1985, Major General Buhari was overthrown in a coup led by General Ibrahim Babangida and other members of the ruling Supreme Military Council (SMC). Buhari was then detained in Benin City until 1988, a courtesy he never extended to many of his victims that lost their lives.
Now that he is in power again, Buhari has brought back the season of anomie and agony to the Nigerian polity. Buhari must look through this list and his first time around, and remember that all these dictators, despots and tyrants were, once upon a time, lording it over their countries. All of them, had people who worked for them. They had those who championed their luciferous machinations. They had supporters of their evils. They had sympathizers of their tyranny.
They all stole money and protected “their own.” They were ruthless and took many innocent lives while their sycophants were singing their praises. But at long last, none of them could stay or hold on forever. They either left or were forced to leave by a variety of circumstances.
Buhari must know too that he would leave or be forced out at the appropriate time, just as it happened in 1985. He won’t be here forever. He could not be here forever. And he would not be here forever. Simplicita.
Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Remi Oyeyemi and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”