Educated locally, he studied at the School of Medicine at Dakar and gained a diploma in 1940.
He joined the Health department and was its head for 19 years at Kaolack, his family’s town in Sine Saloum. His connection with Senghor dates from the 1940s when he became a founder member of the BDS and served on representative institutions from 1946 onwards. From 1960 to 1962 he was first Minister of Commerce and Industry, then Minister of Health and Social Affairs, and after that Minister of Assistance and Technical Cooperation.
After Mamadou Dia’s coup failed in December 1962 he became Minister of the Armed Forces. In March 1965 he was promoted to the Ministry of the Interior. During this period his play “Les Derniers Jours de Lat Dior” was performed at the First World Festival of Negro Arts at Dakar in 1966. In the reshuffle of June 5, 1968, he was made Minister Delegate at the Presidency and three weeks later transferred to be President of the National Assembly.