Eulogies for Kofi Annan as Obasanjo, other world leaders pour tributes on late UN's Scribe - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE



Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Eulogies for Kofi Annan as Obasanjo, other world leaders pour tributes on late UN's Scribe

Kofi Annan

Nezzy Nae

Nigerian former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, President Nana Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana; President Romano Prodi, former Italian Prime Minister and former President of the European Union Commission have extolled the virtues of the late United Nations Secretary - General, Kofi Atta Annan, saying he was a pride to Ghana, Africa and the world.

Obasanjo, Akufo - Addo, Prodi and others - all  spoke glowingly of Annan on Tuesday morningduring a tribute session organised in his honour at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL),  Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, Nigeria, by the Africa Progress Group (APG).

 Annan who was a Ghanaian diplomat and the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations, from January 1997 to December 2006, died on August 18 this year.

During Annan's  tenure as UN's Chief Scribe, he and the UN were the co-recipients of the 2001 Nobel.

In his tribute during the session also attended by the members of Kofi Annan family (represented by Kojo Annan, Mrs. Ama Annan-Adedeji and her husband, Mr. Poju Adedeji, Obasanjo eulogised the late 7th Secretary - General of UN, as a compassionate and gentle man who dedicated his energy and time fully to maintaining world peace. 

The ex - President noted that Kofi Annan’s passing is rightly a time to celebrate his heroic life, but more importantly, a thing that should also prompt African leaders to reflect on how to continue the late diplomat's  pursuit of a better world humanity  continued to face various security challenges. 

Obasanjo said: "I am aware that many of you in this auditorium and even those outside of it will have a lot to say about Kofi Annan. The format we have agreed for this exercise is to capture all your tributes in a Book of Tributes to Kofi Annan by the Africa Progress Group which will be an evergreen memento for the Kofi Annan family, for the APG Secretariat, for future generations of Africans and, indeed, all humanity.

" What we will request that you do in the oral presentation is to keep within three minutes, except for the lead presenter and concluding remark, highlighting your tributes so that we can have many persons pay their tributes to this great son of Africa and world leader.

"Late Kofi Annan, the 7th Secretary-General of the United Nations Organization and former Chair of the Africa Progress Panel, was one of those amazing individuals who have graced this planet. Gentle, compassionate, Kofi Annan observed and dedicated his energy and time fully to maintaining world peace. 

"Throughout his spectacular life, Kofi Annan was devoted to something greater than he was. He was committed to improving humankind through the fairness, kindness, optimism and intelligence he brought us, and through the righteousness, fairness and harmony he promoted across the world. 

"Soft-spoken and courteous, Kofi, as many called him, was not only a pride to Ghana and Ghanaians, he was and still remains a pride to all the people of African descent. To the people of Ghana, we thank you for sharing Kofi Annan with us. 

"It is tough to eulogise this unique man, to capture in words his life and times.  It is not easy to do so for such a committed humanitarian who did not just talk about peace-building but lived his life building peace and trying to make the world more wholesome.

"I have always known Kofi Annan to execute his duties with panache and grace as he addressed the most complicated international crises. One of his chief priorities was an inclusive action plan that sought to give a new lease of life to the United Nations and create an effective international system. 

"Kofi was popular for his advocacy for human rights, human security, inclusion, rule of law and the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs. He brought the UN closer to the public by forging ties with several actors.

" He played a key role in the creation of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the acceptance by member-States of the “responsibility to protect” (R2P), protecting people from genocide, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. 
Kofi Annan was an advocate for gender equality.

" The world cannot forget how member-States were reminded regularly that “empowering women meant empowering nations”. That there is no tool for development more effective than women’s advancement and, promoting gender equality is not only women’s responsibility, it is the responsibility of all of us. 

"Kofi Annan also had a strong concern for refugees and migrants. If Kofi Annan had not confronted the menace of HIV/AIDS in Africa by bringing together the heads of the world’s major pharmaceutical companies and persuaded them to make antiretroviral drugs available in poor countries at affordable prices, many of the people living with HIV/AIDS would not be alive today.

"As a promoter of peace and development, he was pivotal in the formation of Peace Building Commission and the Human Rights Council. He equally played a crucial role in the implementation of the UN's first-ever counter-terrorism policy, and the recognition by member-States of the responsibility to protect people from war crimes, genocide, ethnic cleansing and other crimes against humanity.  

"Kofi Annan was the initiator of many wide-ranging diplomatic operations. In 1998, he helped in easing the move to democratic rule in Nigeria. In addition, that year, he put in much energy to resolve a standoff between Iraq and the Security Council over submission to resolutions involving inspections of weapons and other matters in the process, helping to avoid the death of probably millions of people.

"In 1999, he successfully negotiated the independence of Timor-Leste from Indonesia. He ensured the withdrawal of Israel from Lebanon in 2000, and in 2006, his struggles contributed to securing an end of hostilities between Hizbollah and Israel. 

"He made tremendous contribution to ensuring peace between Nigeria and Cameroon over the Bakassi Peninsula through peaceful execution of the ruling of the International Court of Justice.  
He showed us that action and ideas are not enough, they must be moulded into laws and institutions.

" His Foundation launched several projects to counter violent extremism, develop young leaders, advocate for agriculture and educate people about the dangers of climate change.  Since Kofi and I worked together on the West Africa Commission on Drugs and Global Commission on Drug Policy, I had visited him every August in Ghana where he spent one month holiday annually.

"His works, values, and principles have had and will continue to have a great influence and impact in Africa and beyond, and the Africa Progress Group which we will be inaugurating today will stand on the pedestal established by him as the Chair of the Africa Progress Panel for ten years. 

" As an outstanding leader, we celebrate his life well spent in the service of humanity and we will continue to project his principles and values in contributing to peace-building, security and sustainable development of the African continent. 

"His legacies will live on and continue to touch many lives and generations to come. 

"Kofi Annan’s passing is rightly a time to celebrate his heroic life. But I believe it should also prompt in each of us a time for reflection on how to continue his pursuit of a better world as we continue to face various human security challenges. 

"Life is not about how long you spend but how well you live to serve humanity, Kofi Annan lived well by making unique contributions to make the world a better place than he met it."

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