Nguema, Francisco Macias, 1924-79, first president of Equatorial Guinea (1968-79). Leading the leftist party for independence from Spain, he was vice president under President Ondo Edu (1964-68). At independence (1968), he defeated Edu for president and began to eliminate Spanish influence and political opponents. Large numbers of refugees fled the country. Naming himself president for life (1972), he persecuted Catholics and banned the church (1978). He was overthrown in a coup in 1979, tried and executed.