Born in 1934 in the town of Moussayah Loumbaya, about 70 kilometres (43 miles) from the capital Conakry, Conte went through military training in Senegal and Ivory Coast before being enlisted in the French army. He served in the French army in Algeria, and left with the rank of sergeant when Guinea gained independence in 1958. He then worked his way up the ranks of Guinea's army, becoming captain in 1971 and later commander of the northern region of Boke. He took part in the independence war in neighboring Guinea-Bissau and his reputation as a man of rigour and integrity earned him the prestigious promotion to deputy chief of staff. For all his 24 years in power, Conte only succeeded in putting his tiny West African country of about ten million people, in the words of Captain Moussa Davis Chisapt Camara, in a state of "deep despair". What a legacy indeed!
But reacting to the alleged military coup in Guinea, Nigerian President Umaru Yar’Adua condemned it, warning that “any government that emerges by undemocratic means will not be recognised,” to which Icheoku retorts, was it a democratic process that enthroned you, Umaru Yar'Adua? No one in the world takes Nigeria's Umaru Yar'Adua's democratic gospel serious because of the undemocratic manner he was smuggled into office in Nigeria by Olusegun Obasanjo led cabal; hopefully this Guinea military officers will not be an exception. Mr. Conte's health and his undisclosed illness has been an issue of national debate in Guinea for so many years. Rumours of his death surfaced periodically, including in 2003 when he was forced to go on national television to deny them. Icheoku says here, Conte shared the same trait with Nigeria's President Umaru Yar'Adua who will not tell nor disclose the nature of his health condition and the illness which is afflicting him almost to near incapacitation. Also just recently, the editor of a local newspaper in Guinea was arrested after publishing a picture of the frail Conte struggling to stand up. A spokesman for the president went on television to lie to the people of Guinea that their Conte was not ill. The newspaper was ordered to print a photograph of Conte, showing him in a "very good health". Here again, Nigeria's President Umaru Yar'Adua learned very well from the now dead master and Nigeria's Independent Newspapers is today at the receiving end of Umaru Yar'Adua's anger for refusing to distort the fact and not retracting its Umaru Yar'Adua's health-scare story. Like the dead Conte, Nigeria's President Umaru Yar'Adua, is flying to different overseas hospitals for treatment because of the comatose medical facilities in Africa; and like all atypical African leaders they do not care enough for their people to develop health-care facilities at home. Yet this privileged accessible health-care could not save him from death, the end of all beginning! Death has visited and Conte has joined his ancestors, story finished!