- World leaders mourn, Obasanjo, Jonathan, Anyaoku, Saraki, Govs pay tribute
The world responded to the death of former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan yesterday with a torrent of tributes, with leaders of various political hues extoling the virtues of the man who was widely recognised as one of the most influential international diplomats.
Annan died Saturday morning at a hospital in Switzerland after a short illness, the Annan family and the Kofi Annan Foundation said in a statement. The statement said Annan was “global statesman and a deeply committed internationalist who fought throughout his life for a fairer and more peaceful world.”
It said the Ghanaian-born diplomat, Nobel Prize winner, and first black African to lead the UN “felt a special responsibility towards Africa. He was deeply committed to African development and deeply engaged in many initiatives” for the advancement of the continent.”
The statement said, “The family kindly requests privacy at this time of mourning. Arrangements to celebrate his remarkable life will be announced later.”
But world leaders loudly eulogised the life of the departed UN envoy.
Anyaoku: He did a great service to Nigeria
Former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Emeka Anyaoku said Annan was a conscientious diplomat, good friend of Nigeria, and a pride of Africa.
Anyaoku told Arise TV, “Kofi was a very, very effective, quiet diplomat. He was not given to noisemaking. He worked quietly but very effectively.
“I think the world will miss a diplomat focussing on his objective and pursuing it diligently but quietly. By Kofi Annan’s death, the world and in particular, Africa, has lost a truly great statesman and peacemaker.
“Kofi Annan’s tenure as Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1997 to 2006 brought huge pride to Africa and made lasting global impact.”
The former Commonwealth secretary-general listed some of Annan’s achievements at the UN to include effecting “a far-reaching reform of the UN secretariat’s administrative structure. Second, Kofi Annan led the world to adopt the resolution on responsibility to protect. I suppose after the shocking experience of the Rwanda and Srebrenica genocides, Kofi Annan was determined that the world would do something about it and I was as Secretary-General in a position that he spoke with me on a number of occasions and told me about his concerns, and the UN General Assembly in 2005 adopted the resolution on responsibility to protect. The meaning of this resolution was to empower all the global community to intervene in countries where the population are seriously threatened by genocides and serious abuse of human rights.
“Thirdly, Kofi Annan was responsible for the adoption in the year 2000 after the global summit of the Millennium Development Goals that were adopted by the UN. This is one of his achievements. He was also responsible for the establishment of the global fund which was established for tackling of such global pandemics like HIV/AIDS and other diseases threatening humanity.”
Anyaoku said, “He was undoubtedly a champion of peace. He should be remembered as the Secretary-General who in 2003 urged the United States and the United Kingdom not to invade Iraq. He didn’t earn their pleasure after that. So, Kofi Annan was by all measures a great statesman because even as after his tenure as Secretary General, he continued to be active. He set up the Kofi Annan Foundation through which he intervened for peace and development in African countries.
“He was , I must say, a personal friend of mine. We were friends for over 50 years. I was present in Geneva; I travelled all the way from New York in 1965 to attend his wedding, his first wedding, when he married a Nigerian, Titi Alakija.
“He was a good friend of Nigeria. His last service to Nigeria was in January 2015, when I asked him and he came and joined me in presiding a workshop that resulted in the adoption of what was known as the Abuja Accord, which committed all the 12 presidential candidates then, including the incumbent President Jonathan and the aspirants, such as General Buhari and the others, that committed themselves to a violence-free campaign and more importantly acceptance of the election results. This is a great service to our country.”
Obasanjo: he dedicated his life to fight for global peace
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo said Annan was “a brother and friend”. In a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi, Obasanjo said, “I received the shocking news of the demise of former United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, with deep sadness at the loss of a brother and friend.
“I commiserate with the Annan family, particularly Mr. Annan’s widow – Nane Maria – and their children Ama, Kojo and Nina; the Government and People of Ghana; the Secretary-General and staff of the United Nations; and indeed all lovers of peace and progress across the world on this great loss.”
Obasanjo described Annan “as a global statesman who dedicated his life to democracy, peace, stability, security, equity, justice, human rights, development, and progress, which culminated in not only his appointment as United Nations Secretary-General in 1997 but also in his well-deserved honour with a Nobel Peace Prize in 2001 for having revitalised the United Nations and for giving priority to human rights.”
Jonathan: Distinguished and accomplished diplomat
Immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan called Annan a “distinguished and accomplished international public servant and one of Africa’s most prominent diplomats.”
Jonathan wrote, “I am deeply saddened by the death of @KofiAnnan , a world-renowned icon of peace and diplomacy. He was a distinguished and accomplished international public servant and one of Africa’s most prominent diplomats.”
Atiku: He was a quintessential promoter of global peace
Abuja, Nigeria 18 August, 2018: Former Vice President of Nigeria Atiku Abubakar mourns the passing on of Mr. Kofi Annan, a former Secretary General of the United Nations.
In a press statement by his media office in Abuja, the former Vice President describes Mr. Annan as a quintessential promoter of global peace; a great African, an astounding diplomat and one of the leading lights in the African continent of this century.
Atiku laments that a leading light has passed out of Africa and called on Africans of the present generation to emulate the late Anan’s commitment to the well- being and development of the African continent while serving as Chief Scribe of the United Nation’s Organisation.
The PDP presidential aspirant recalls that during his days at the United Nations, this great African diplomat and Ghanaian citizen, served the international community with distinction and for this reason, his period of service as UN Secretary General was to a large extent peaceful internationally because of his wisdom, patience, persistence and integrity.
For this reason, Kofi Annan was bestowed with the Noble Prize for Peace, in 2001 by the Alfred Noble Foundation, an award he shared with the UN, which he led, Atiku recalls.
Atiku states further that the late Kofi Annan was much respected and trusted by members of the UN who took his position and counsel on issues seriously.
The Waziri Adamawa says further that even after retirement from the services of the UN, Kofi Annan, never indeed retired from playing critical international roles that advanced the well- being of Africa and the world.
According to Atiku, the late UN Chief Scribe set up the Kofi Annan Foundation which he employed as a platform to keep alive, public discourse on issues that affect Africa and the World as well as lend a hand to promote better global governance and strengthen the capacities of people and countries to achieve a fairer and more peaceful world.
Atiku conveys his deepest condolences to the Annan family, the Kofi Annan Foundation, the international community, the government and people of Ghana and all Africans on the passing on of this global statesman.
Saraki: Annan was a quintessential African diplomat
Senate President Bukola Saraki said Annan was an exemplary diplomat who exhibited extraordinary finesse, restraint, and wisdom on the world stage. In a statement by his media adviser, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki said, “Annan was an African avatar and God’s messenger of peace to the world. His demise is a huge loss to the international community and to humanity. Africa has indeed lost one of her best. He shall be sorely missed.” Saraki added, “Annan deployed his vast capacities to tackle intractable global challenges ranging from hunger, conflict, epidemic and restoration of peace in war-torn countries.”
Obaseki: He made global impact
Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki stated regarding Annan, “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.
“Serving as the 7th Secretary General of the UN, he contributed immensely to global peace, which was acknowledged with the award of the Nobel Peace Prize, alongside the UN.”
Okowa: He was a global statesman
Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa described Annan’s death as “a great loss to the international community where he led efforts to finding peaceful solution to conflicts globally”. Okowa said in a release by his chief press secretary, Charles Aniagwu, “We have lost a global statesman who was deeply committed to global peace and conflict resolution. The highly revered diplomat will be long remembered for his towering role and dedication to improving lives through peaceful coexistence among people of diverse race.”
Melaye: Annan was a great peacemaker
Senator Dino Melaye said Annan was a promoter of peace with the zeal to feed the world. Melaye stated, “There is no doubt that he was a humanitarian with a zeal to feed the world and to improve conditions of the impoverished and victims of humanitarian crises when he held sway as the United Nations scribe. His country of origin, Ghana; Africa; and the whole world have all lost a leader, peace maker, global icon and father of all in Mr. Annan.”
Tinubu: Annan was a distinguished global icon
National leader of All Progressives Congress Bola Tinubu said in statement, “In his lifetime, Kofi Annan distinguished himself as an international statesman, global icon, finest diplomat and tireless champion of human rights for all. 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.”
Dangote: We lost a great champion
Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, tweeted, “My heartfelt condolences to the family of Kofi Annan. An invaluable proponent of world peace, justice, and equality. Humanity has lost a great champion of peace.”
Okonjo-Iweala: A tall Iroko has fallen
Former finance minister tweeted, “A shock and a great loss! Kofi Annan Africa’s foremost son and international diplomat, our tall Iroko tree has died. His many contributions to Humanitarian, Development and Governance issues will not be forgotten.
“These contributions came not only as Secretary General, but also through his foundation, his work at the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, the Elders, and the Africa Progress Panel. He was incredibly charming with a wry sense of humour and a quick wit.”