Home FOREIGN AFRICA Buhari, UN, others mourn Annan, former UN scribe

Buhari, UN, others mourn Annan, former UN scribe

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President Muhammadu Buhari has commiserated with the government and people of Ghana over the death of Kofi Annan, former United Nations (UN) Secretary General.

Annan, who spent two terms as the head of the world diplomacy body stepping down in 2006, reportedly died in the early hours of Saturday in Switzerland after a brief illness, aged 80.

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Buhari, personally called President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana from London, and told him that Nigerians and ECOWAS member countries shared in the deep loss, considering Annan’s strategic influence in global affairs and his vision for the repositioning of the West Coast and Africa.

President Buhari, who conveyed his condolence through his media aide, Femi Adesina, in Abuja, noted that Annan’s origin and home would always be traced to Ghana, but his exceptional leadership roles, humanitarian spirit and contributions to global peace and development would remain indelible in the history of the entire world, especially the efforts to combat HIV/AIDS in Africa and launch of the UN Global Compact.

As the first elected UN staff to lead the world organisation and first African to win the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with the UN, Buhari stressed that Annan’s humility, nobility and love for humanity set him apart for global greatness, achieving recognition and commendation for the reform of the UN’ bureaucracy and multiple interventions to bring peace to the world.

Buhari also sent his condolences to the wife of the diplomat, Nane Maria Annan, and his family members, staff of the United Nations and the global organisations he headed, like The Elders, which was founded by Nelson Mandela.

Similarly, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres opened the floodgates of tributes in Geneva, describing the Annan as a guiding force for good.

“It is with profound sadness that I learnt of his passing. In many ways, Kofi Annan was the United Nations. He rose through the ranks to lead the organisation into the new millennium with matchless dignity and determination,” Guterres said.

“Like so many, I was proud to call Kofi Annan a good friend and mentor. I was deeply honoured by his trust in selecting me to serve as UN High Commissioner for Refugees under his leadership.

“He remained someone I could always turn to for counsel and wisdom – and I know I was not alone. He provided people everywhere with a space for dialogue, a place for problem-solving and a path to a better world.

“In these turbulent and trying times, he never stopped working to give life to the values of the United Nations Charter. His legacy will remain a true inspiration for all of us.

“My heartfelt condolences to Nane Annan, their beloved family, and all who mourn the loss of this proud son of Africa who became a global champion for peace and all humanity.”

Meanwhile, House of Representatives Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, described the death of Annan as a huge loss to Africa and humanity.

Dogara, through his official Twitter handle @YakubDogara, on Saturday, said the late Annan had etched his name on the sands of time as a true son of Africa, describing him as a quintessential leader and accomplished diplomat, who dedicated his life time to the progress of humanity.

Dogara added that the late Ghanaian diplomat was a true global ambassador, who used his life to promote peace across the world.

The Kofi Annan Foundation also announced the death in a full statement that detailed how he passed on and requested that his loved ones be allowed some privacy in the meantime.

“It is with immense sadness that the Annan family and the Kofi Annan Foundation announce that Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations and Nobel Peace Laureate, passed away peacefully on Saturday 18th August after a short illness.

“His wife Nane and their children Ama, Kojo and Nina were by his side during his last days. Kofi Annan was a global statesman and a deeply committed internationalist who fought throughout his life for a fairer and more peaceful world. During his distinguished career and leadership of the United Nations he was an ardent champion of peace, sustainable development, human rights and the rule of law.

“After stepping down from the United Nations, he continued to work tirelessly in the cause of peace through his chairmanship of the Kofi Annan Foundation and as chair of The Elders, the group founded by Nelson Mandela. He was an inspiration to young and old alike. Kofi Annan was a son of Ghana and felt a special responsibility towards Africa.

“He was particularly committed to African development and deeply engaged in many initiatives, including his chairmanship of the Africa Progress Panel and his early leadership of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

“Wherever there was suffering or need, he reached out and touched many people with his deep compassion and empathy. He selflessly placed others first, radiating genuine kindness, warmth and brilliance in all he did. He will be greatly missed by so many around the world, as well as his staff at the Foundation and his many former colleagues in the United Nations system. He will remain in our hearts forever.

“The family kindly requests privacy at this time of mourning. Arrangements to celebrate his remarkable life will be announced later,” the statement reads.

Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister, who expressed shock over Annan’s death, said on Twitter, “he was a good friend whom I saw only weeks ago.”

Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairman, African Union (AU) Commission, described him as “a great man, a dear brother.”

Kumi Naidoo, new leader of the Amnesty International (AI), said, “He was warm, compassionate and intelligent, exuding dignity and grace.”

For Filippo Grandi, UN Refugee Chief, Annan was an “international leader, wise mentor, valuable adviser, good friend and role model.

“We at UNHCR and millions of others around the world will miss him very much.”

 

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