- The UN secretary general, Antonio Guterres, has paid tributes to Kofi Annan
- Guterres explained that Kofi Annan was an exceptional leader
- He said the deceased is continually inspired by his integrity and dynamism
The UN current secretary general, Antonio Guterres, on Thursday, September 13, paid final respects to the former secretary general Kofi Annan he is laid to rest at the military elementary in Ghana.
Guterres, in his remarks at the funeral of his predecessor, paid glowing tributes to Annan, who said goodbye to the world on August 18 in Switzerland he was 80 years.
According to him, “Kofi Annan was both one-of-a-kind and one of us. He was an exceptional global leader. He was also someone virtually anyone in the world could see themselves in: those on the far reaching of poverty or by, conflict and despair who found in him an ally; the junior UN staffers following in his footsteps; the young person to whom he said until his dying breath ‘always remember, you are never too young to lead and we are never too old to learn.
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“Like few in our time, Kofi Annan would bring people together, put them at ease, and unite them towards a common goal for our common humanity.
“There is an old joke: The art of diplomacy is to say nothing, especially when you are speaking! Kofi Annan could say everything, sometimes without uttering a word.
“It came from the dignity and the moral conviction and the humanity that was so deep in him. He had that gentle voice, that lilt that made people smile and think of music. But his words were tough and wise.
“And sometimes the graver a situation, the lower that voice would get.We would lean in to listen. And the world would lean in. And we were rewarded by his wisdom.”
The UN chief said Kofi Annan was courageous, speaking truth to power while subjecting himself to intense self-scrutiny.
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Pointing to his time at the helm of the UN, Guterres said Annan had an almost mystical sense of the role of the UN as a force for good in a world of ills.
He added: “He pioneered new ideas and initiatives, including the Millennium Development Goals and the landmark reforms in his report, In Larger Freedom .
“He opened the doors of the UN, bringing the organization close to the world’s people and engaging new partners in protecting the environment, defending human rights and combating HIV and AIDS and other killer diseases.
Guterres said now that he occupied the office Annan once held, he is continually inspired by his integrity, dynamism and dedication.
“To him, indifference was the world’s worst poison. Even after finishing his term as Secretary-General, he never stopped battling on the front-lines of diplomacy.
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“He helped to case post-election tensions in Kenya, gave his all to find a political solution to the brutal war in Syria and set out a path for ensuring justice and rights for the Rohingya people of Myanmar.
“Kofi straddled many worlds. North and south, east and west. But he found his surest anchor in his African roots and identity.
“The great Nelson Mandela, accustomed to being called Madiba, had his own nickname for Kofi, and called him ‘my leader’. This was no jest. Kofi was our leader, too,” Guterres stressed.
The UN chief said Annan is gone now and he would be missed immensely but that his words and wise counsel remain.
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com had reported that former UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan, passed on at the age of 80 in the early hours of Saturday, August 18, in Switzerland.
Annan, who was born in Ghana in 1938, served as the seventh UN Secretary-General, from 1997 to 2006, and was the first to rise from within the ranks of the United Nations staff.
He had been a member of The Elders, a group of global leaders working for human rights, since it was founded in 2007. In 2013, he became its chairman.
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