The flag at UN headquarters in New York is flying at half-mast on Saturday as the intergovernmental organisation marks the death of its former Secretary-General, Kofi Annan.
Officials from across the UN system have been paying tribute to the man who led the global body for a decade, starting in January 1997.
He was Secretary-General during what has been described as one of the darkest days in the UN history: the Aug. 19, 2003 bombing of the UN premises in Baghdad, Iraq.
For Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the outgoing UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Annan is simply “irreplaceable”.
“Kofi was humanity’s best example, the epitome, of human decency and grace.
“In a world now filled with leaders who are anything but that, our loss, the world’s loss becomes even more painful,” Zeid said in a statement.
Annan was the seventh of nine men appointed Secretary-General since the UN was established in 1945.
He was the first to emerge from the ranks of UN staff and the second to come from the African continent, after his predecessor, Egyptian diplomat Boutrous Boutrous-Ghali.
Before taking the reins of the UN, he held various senior level positions at the headquarters and in the field, and at one point he was Zeid’s immediate boss.
The UN rights chief recalled a man who was ever courageous and though direct in speech, never discourteous.
Zeid added: “Later, when I was an ambassador at the UN he inspired us, by being a dynamic and charismatic leader in his capacity as Secretary-General.
“And most of all, he was a friend and counsel – to me and to so many others. Whenever – as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, I felt isolated and alone politically (which, in the last four years, was often) I would go for long walks with him around Geneva – and listen.”
Annan and the UN were jointly awarded the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize.
Miroslav Lajčák, President of the UN General Assembly, remembered the Nobel laureate as “a strong believer in dialogue” and staunch defender of peace, development and human rights.
“He dedicated his life to making the world a better, more peaceful, and just place for all people. And in many ways, he is a symbol for the shared values of the United Nations” Lajčák said.
Inga Rhonda King, the newly appointed President of the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), offered her condolences to his family, and to all those who had worked with or known the former leader.
“His contribution to the world was immense. His leadership was compassionate and his legacy consequential,” she said.
Kofi Annan was committed to, in his own words, “bringing the United Nations closer to the people”; forging partnerships with civil society, the business sector and others.
UN agencies and their chiefs are using technology to further this goal, taking to social media to express their sadness over his death.
In a post on Twitter, William Lacy Swing, Director General of the International Organisation for Migration, lamented the loss of “one of the greatest leaders of our times.”
Swing described Annan as a dear friend and “champion of justice and peace who, even at the moment of death, was engaged in the search for solutions to conflicts in many parts of the world.”
Also on Twitter, David Beasley, head of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) said Annan had strongly supported the agency’s mission and was an ally in the fight against hunger.
“We all must keep his legacy alive, working to break the cycle of hunger and conflict so people can live in peace,” Beasley said.
UN mourns death of ex-chief Kofi Annan
August 18, 2018 2:24 pm by prudence.arobani – United States of America (USA) –
UN MOURNS DEATH OF EX-CHIEF KOFI ANNAN
The United Nations is mourning the death of former Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who passed away peacefully after a short illness, according to a statement published on his official Twitter account on Saturday.
The current UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres paid glowing tributes to the former Secretary-General, who headed the intergovernmental organisation from 1997 to 2006.
The renowned Ghanain diplomat was 80 years old.
His foundation announced his death on Saturday and the late UN scribe reportedly died in hospital in Bern, Switzerland, in the early hours of Saturday.
Guterres hailed Annan as “a guiding force for good” and a “proud son of Africa who became a global champion for peace and all humanity.”
“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,” Guterres said in a statement.
Annan was the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations, after Egyptian diplomat, Boutrous Boutrous-Ghali exit in December 1996.
The UN chief said: “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 us.”
Kofi Annan was born in Kamasi, Ghana, on April 8, 1938.
He joined the UN system in 1962 as an administrative and budget officer with the World Health Organisation in Geneva, rising through the ranks to hold senior-level posts in areas such as budget and finance, and peacekeeping.
He served as UN Secretary-General for two consecutive five-year terms, beginning in January 1997.
PRESIDENT BUHARI MOURNS KOFI ANNAN
President Muhammadu Buhari has commiserated with the government and people of Ghana over the passing of former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, in the early hours of Aug. 18.
A statement issued by Mr Femi Adesina, the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, in Abuja on Saturday, said Buhari had earlier called President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana from London, to register his condolence.
President Buhari said all Nigerians and ECOWAS member countries share in the deep loss, considering the strategic influence of the former scribe in global affairs and his vision for repositioning the West Coast and Africa.
The President acknowledged that Annan was the first UN staff to lead the organisation, he was also a co-recipient of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize with the UN.
He 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 UN’s bureaucracy and multiple interventions to bring peace to the world.
President Buhari said Annan’s origin and home will always be traced to Ghana, but his exceptional leadership roles, humanitarian spirit and contributions to global peace and development will remain indelible in the history of the entire world.
He particularly lauded his efforts to combat HIV/AIDS in Africa as well as the launch of the UN Global Compact.
The President also sent condolences to the wife of the diplomat, Nane Maria Annan and his family members, staff of the UN and the global organisations he was heading, like The Elders, which was founded by Nelson Mandela.
President Buhari prayed that the almighty God would comfort his family and all his loved ones.
OBASEKI COMMISERATES WITH FAMILY, GHANA, LAUDS GLOBAL IMPACT
Edo Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has commiserated with Ghana and family of Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations and celebrated diplomat, over his passing away at the age of 80.
In a statement on Saturday in Benin, 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 away 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,” Obaseki said.
“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.”
Obaseki noted that Annan lived a life that was not only worth celebrating but also portrayed a commitment to “service and a rare grace that marked his various engagements at the UN while he led the global body.”
The governor urged youths to toe the path of the statesman and global icon, noting that the virtues portrayed by Annan while he lived, would not only stand young people out, but also set them on the path of success in their chosen careers.
The governor also commiserated with the government and people of Ghana, from where Annan hailed, noting that late Annan was a worthy ambassador of the country and the African continent at large.
GOV. OKOWA CONDOLES UN, PEOPLE OF GHANA
Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta on Saturday sympathised with the family of Kofi Annan, the United Nations, government and people of the Republic of Ghana on the demise of former United Nations Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan.
The governor’s condolence was issued and signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Charles Aniagwu in Asaba.
Okowa described the death of the winner of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize for humanitarian work, as “a great loss to the international community where he led efforts to finding peaceful solution to conflicts globally”.
The governor said, “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.
“Mr Annan was bold and fearless as Secretary-General and told truth to power which led to his declaration of American invasion of Iraq in 2003 as “illegal” under international law.
“As UN Special Envoy to Syria, he proposed a six-point plan that would have led to the early resolution of the crisis in Syria which was, however, not implemented by the Syrian government which led to his resignation as Special Envoy”.
The governor noted that Late Annan touched lives with his Kofi Annan Foundation that was committed to overcome threats to peace, development and human rights around the world.
Okowa extolled Annan’s extraordinary and committed leadership at the United Nations where he emerged as the first black African to take up the role of the world’s top diplomat.
“Where Annan served from 1997 to 2006 and his exceptional stewardship that led to the successful war against the HIV/AIDS pandemic including the establishment of the social investment fund “The Global Fund” to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria as well as the launching of the Millennium Development Goals,” he said.
The governor expressed hope that the international community and all those who mourn late Annan would continue to honour his legacy of selfless service and commitment to human dignity and global peace.
Okowa prayed God to grant his soul eternal rest and comfort his family, well-wishers and the people of the Republic of Ghana in this period of loss and global mourning.
END OF A GOLDEN ERA IN GLOBAL POLITICS-SARAKI
The President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki has described the death of former Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), Koffi 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, Mr Yusuph Olaniyonu, described the late Annan as a quintessential African diplomat on the global plane and a citizen of the world.
He said the deceased deployed his vast capacities to tackle intractable global challenges ranging from hunger, conflict, epidemic and restoration of peace in war torn countries.
Saraki noted that many developing nations benefitted immensely from the humanitarian efforts of late Annan as he was able to raise the concerns and challenges confronting “forgotten peoples and nations in the Assembly of world powers.
“Annan was a 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, 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.”
The president of the senate commiserated with the wife and children of the deceased, the Government and people of Ghana.
He also commiserated the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), African Union (AU), the United Nations, international humanitarian organisations and the diplomatic community over the irreparable loss.
He prayed God to grant the soul of the deceased mercies and to count him among the righteous ones in His abode.
HUGE LOSS TO AFRICA, HUMANITY – DOGARA
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, has described the death of former UN Secretary General, Kofi 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, on Saturday, Dogara said the late Annan had etched his name on the sands of time as a true son of Africa.
He also described the late Annam 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.
“It is with a great sense of loss that I received the news of the passing on of former secretary general of the United Nations, Mr Kofi Annan.
“Even with the awareness that death is an inevitable end, also for great men, it does not reduce the feeling of loss with which I received the news of Kofi Annan’s death.
“His contributions to the advancement of the human race will never be forgotten.
“My heartfelt condolences to his family, Ghanaian government and the global community; May his soul find eternal rest in peace,” Dogara said.
Mr Kofi Annan, a recipient of the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize, died at age of 80 peacefully in his sleep on Saturday after a short illness.
ONYEAMA, DABIRI-EREWA, EX-DIPLOMAT MOURN KOFI ANNAN
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has described the death of former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, on Saturday as sad.
Onyeama said this in his twitter handle @GeoffreyOnyeama, accessed by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Abuja
He prayed that the Almighty God would comfort his family and all his loved ones.
” It’s very sad to learn of the passing on of Kofi Annan, Former UN Secretary General. His family is in our thoughts and prayers,” he said.
In the same vein, Senior Special Adviser to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, also mourned late Annan.
Dabiri -Erewa in a message obtained by the New Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja sympathised with the family of the late former UN Secretary General.
“We are grateful to God for his life and achievements both at the global stage and in our continent.
“The world will never forget him for his great works on peace for humanity.
“He stood up wisely and bravely to great global powers, particularly perennial violators of human rights.
“And for his gentle but audacious advocacy and empowerment of all people, particularly the youth all over the world,” she said.
Also, the immediate past permanent secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Olusola Enikanolaiye said in statement that Africa had lost an icon in the person of Dr Kofi Atta Annan.
The ex-diplomat said he received the news of the passing on of Annan, with shock and sadness, his ripe age notwithstanding.
”Dr Annan was an outstanding soft-spoken and deft internationalist whose vision of international relations in the post-Cold War era led to the reinvigoration of the global body at a time of weaning relevance and influence.
”He spent most of his years at the UN in the Peace-keeping Department, which he headed before being elected the first Black Secretary General of the UN in 1997.
”It is to his credit that his astute diplomatic skills, post retirement, helped a great deal in mediating the post-election violence in Kenya in 2008, having played similar roles as Secretary General in other trouble spots in Africa such as Sierra Leone and beyond.
He however, lamented how Annan cajoled President Olusegun Obasanjo into signing an agreement to cede Bakkasi Peninsula to Cameroon.
”Many in Nigeria would not forget in a hurry how Annan cajoled President Olusegun Obasanjo in November 2002 in Geneva to sign and agree to the acceptance and implementation of the judgement of the International Court of Justice over the disputed Bakassi Peninsula whatever the outcome of the case.
”That was how the judgment became a fait accompli, without adequate safeguards and guarantees of their future in Nigeria thereby leaving them in their present pitiable conditions of quandary.
”Analysts would continue to wonder how the Geneva meeting with President Paul Biya of Cameroon came about,” he said.