Eyadèma, Gnassingbé(nyäsēm`bā āyädā`mə), 1937–2005, president of Togo (1967–2005). His original given name was Étienne, which he africanized in 1974. He served in the French army (1953–61) before entering the armed forces of Togo, where he became (1965) chief of the general staff. He seized power in 1967 and assumed the offices of president and minister of national defense. He was returned to office in 1972, 1979. and 1986. A national conference in 1991 attempted to force him from power, but army violence forced Eyadèma's restoration (1992). He was reelected in 1993 and 1998 in contests boycotted by the opposition and in 2003 amid allegations of fraud. He died in office two years later.
(also Etienne Eyadéma). Born 1935 in Pya, Lama Kara District. State figure of Togo; general (1967). From 1953 to 1962, Eyadéma served in the French Army in In dochina, Algeria, Niger, and Dahomey (since 1975, Benin). In January 1963 he took part in the military coup d’etat that over threw President Olympio. In 1965 he became a lieutenant colonel and was appointed chief of staff of the Togolese armed forces. Eyadéma headed a new military coup d’etat in January 1967. Since April 1967 he has been president, head of the government, and minister of defense. Eyadéma is the chairman of the ruling and only party in the country, the Togolese Popular Rally (founded 1969).