By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
A former Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), Kofi Annan, passed on yesterday. In a tribute, the incumbent UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, said Annan, the second African to occupy the top seat of the global body, was the United Nations.
Tributes poured in from across the world including Nigeria where President Muhammadu Buhari, Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker Yakubu Dogara, former President Goodluck Jonathan and some state governors extolled the virtues of the former UN scribe, Kofi Annan.
Buhari commiserated with the government and people of Ghana over the passage.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina, stated that his principal called President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana from London to commiserate with him.
According to the statement, the President told his Ghanaian colleague that all Nigerians and ECOWAS member-countries shared in the deep loss, considering the strategic influence of the former scribe in global affairs and his vision for the repositioning of the West Coast and Africa.
The statement said, “As the first elected staff of the United Nations to lead the world organisation and first African to win the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with the United Nations, the President noted that Annan’s humility, nobility and love for humanity set him apart for global greatness, achieving recognition and commendation for the reform of the United Nations’ bureaucracy and multiple interventions to bring peace to the world”.
End of golden era in politics – Saraki
In his own tribute, Saraki described the demise of Kofi Annan as the end of a golden era in global politics and international relations.
Saraki, in a statement by his Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), Yusuph Olaniyonu, described the late Annan as the quintessential African diplomat on the global plane and a citizen of the world, who deployed his vast capacities to tackle intractable global challenges ranging from hunger, conflict, epidemic and restoration of peace in war-torn countries.
He noted that many developing nations benefitted immensely from the humanitarian efforts of the late Annan during lifetime as he was able to raise the concerns and challenges confronting hitherto forgotten peoples and nations in the Assembly of world powers.
“Annan was the quintessential African Diplomat who bestrode the world stage with dignity, finesse, admirable restraint and wisdom. He was a diplomat’s diplomat. He dedicated his immense expertise, experience and energies to resolving some of the world’s most pressing problems and conflicts, including most recently, the Rohingya refugee crisis. He was a citizen of the world”, the Senate President said.
Huge loss to Africa, humanity – Dogara
Speaker Yakubu Dogara described the death of Annan as a huge loss to Africa and humanity.
Reacting to the news of demise of the former UN chief scribe via his official Twitter handle @YakubDogara, Dogara said Annan had etched his name on the sands of time as a true son of Africa, quintessential leader and accomplished diplomat who dedicated his life time to the progress of humanity.
He added that the late Ghanaian diplomat was a true global ambassador who used his life to promote peace across the world.
Death, a sad loss to humanity – Jonathan
Former President Jonathan described the deceased as an icon of peace and a great son of Africa.
In a tribute, Jonathan noted that his extensive reforms reinvigorated the UN systems and positively impacted international relations.
A statement by the former President’s spokesman, Mr. Ikechukwu Eze, further described the passing on of the former U.N. scribe as a sad loss to humanity.
He was a shining light – Obaseki
Governor Godwin Obaseki, on his part, commiserated with Ghana and the family of Annan.
In a statement, Obaseki said Annan was a shining light of the African continent, who strode like a colossus in the diplomatic community and worked tirelessly for a peaceful and fair world.
“I received the news of the passing of Kofi Annan with a heavy heart. He lived a noble, courageous life and was an example of excellence in public service. From his humble beginning in Ghana, Annan grew to conquer the world, displaying an expert understanding of the complexities of the world and working to entrench the respect for human rights in the UN system. I commend his impact on global peace”, he said.
Annan was a global icon – Tinubu
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, also mourning Annan, said he distinguished himself as an international statesman, global icon, finest diplomat and tireless champion of human rights for all, saying his diplomatic achievements, both before or after becoming the UN Secretary-General, are legion.
“Specifically, he will be remembered for his important contributions to the fight against HIV/AIDS epidemic, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, and his commitment to defending vulnerable populations the world over, demonstrated by his key role in the development of the UN’s epoch-making Responsibility to Protect doctrine.”, Tinubu said.
“His time at the UN was also remarkable for his role in ensuring stability of democratic governments in Africa and intervention in conflict resolution around the world aimed at achieving world peace.
“Kofi Annan spearheaded several initiatives on Africa, including his chairmanship of the Africa Progress Panel and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He provided leadership in developing the Millennium Development Goals, which made poverty eradication an achievable global imperative.
He lived true to his reputation and recognition as Noble Peace Prize Laureate because he was an advocate of world peace and development throughout”
Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State described the Nobel Laureate as a global statesman, consummate technocrat and accomplished diplomat.
In a statement by the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Otunba Adedayo Adeneye, Amosun said Annan will be remembered for championing respect for human rights, peace, unity and justice, globally.
“Late Mr. Kofi Annan, relentlessly worked towards peaceful coexistence and sustainable development round the world, as a two-term UN secretary general.
“The contributions of this distinguished diplomat of international repute, in promoting peace and mitigating violence, particularly in Middle East and Africa, is commendable and worthy of emulation”, the governor added.
Annan was Africa’s gift to the world – Dakwambo
Governor Ibrahim Dakwambo of Gombe State said Annan was Africa’s gift to the world. “As Secretary General of the United Nations, the second African but the first black man to hold that position, Annan was the perfect advertisement copy for the African heritage of diligence, resilience, brilliance, humaneness and all the virtues that make up impeccable character. On his watch, the world witnessed but survived terrible wars, violent disagreements and catastrophic disasters”, Dakwambo said.
We had numerous meetings – Peter Obi
In his own reaction, former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, described Annan as a true representative of Africa. He recalled his numerous meetings with him in Nigeria and outside Nigeria, and how Annan’s preoccupation was how to develop Africa along the right paths.
He was a diplomat par excellence – Harriman family
The Ambassador Leslie and Chief Hope Harriman family also mourned Annan for his tenacity of purpose on the world stage which they said brought pride to Africa.
Reminiscing the bond between the Harriman family and the Annan family of Ghana, Ms. Temi Harriman, in a statement on behalf of the two families, recalled Annan as a civilised, urbane and a patriotic African. She particularly remembered fond memories the Harrimans had with the Annan family and the fellowship the three patriarchs had among themselves that distilled down to their families.
“A diplomat par excellence, a great son of Ghana, who made Africa proud on the world stage. He had an aristocratic and elegant mien and became the first United Nations secretary-general hired from within the United Nations system,” she said.
“He was a most civilised, urbane man. We pray for his eternal repose and for his family at this time.”