Accra, Sept. 13, GNA - World leaders and scores of dignitaries, Thursday joined President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and Ghanaians, to bid the Seventh United Nations Secretary-General and Noble Peace laureate, Busumuru Kofi Atta Annan, an eternal farewell, at a State Service in Accra.
The solemn ceremony, telecast live to millions across the globe, was witnessed by thousands from all walks of live, who thronged the Accra International Conference Centre to pay their last respects to the man, Annan, considered the doyen of global peace.
The family of Mr Annan, and mourners, bedecked in black, signifying the painful loss of the revered Ghanaian statesman, sat solemnly observing his casket, amidst the playing of flute dirges, as tributes upon tributes celebrated him as man who devoted his life to the pursuit of a freer, fairer and better world.
Alongside his global numerous engagements, tributes from his wife, children and extended family lauded him for always being there for them, as well.
At the ceremony was the Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and wife Samira, First Lady Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, Nane Maria Annan, widow of Mr. Annan and children Kojo, Ama and Nina, the current Secretary-General of the UN, Antonio Gutteres, who eulogized Mr Annan, saying, “He was an exceptional global leader, whose words were tough and wise.”
Former Presidents Jerry John Rawlings and his wife, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, President John Agyekum Kufuor, and John Mahama were also at the ceremony.
Also present were the Ivorian leader Alassane Outarra, Liberian President George Weah, Namibian President Dr Hage Geingob, President Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea and Mr Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone.
Others were Dr Mulatu Teshome, President of Ethiopia, Prime Minister Brigi Rafini of Niger, Zimbabwean Leader Emmerson Mnangagwa, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Angolan Vice President Joao Manuel Goncalves, Her Royal Highness, Princess Beatrix and Princess Mabel of the Netherlands.
Former Nigerian leaders Olusegun Obasanjo and Abdul Salam Abubakar, former German Head of State, Horst Kohler, Former Finnish Leader Tarja Halonem, Former Slovenian President Dr Danilo Turk, Former Gambian vice President Fatoumata Tambajang, and Former Secretary-general of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyako, were also present.
The Speaker of Parliament Mark Aaron Ocquaye, members of the diplomatic corps, traditional rulers, security chiefs, ministers, legislators and very important personalities from the sub-region were in attendance.
President Akufo-Addo, in his tribute, said Mr Annan brought considerable renown to Ghana by his position and by his conduct and comportment in the global arena.
“Charming, cosmopolitan, consensus-builder, elegant, eloquent, gentle-mannered, modest, polyglot, proud African, peacemaker, quintessential diplomat-these words are still in adequate to capture the fullness of the personality of Kofi Annan, one of the truly iconic figures of modern times.
“Indeed, the outpouring of tributes from the world over is an accurate measure of the man, a man who gave his life to making peace where there was conflict, to defending the voiceless the voiceless who were powerless, to promoting virtue where there was evil.”
The President noted that despite the “unjustified attacks” on him, trying to fix him with responsibility for the genocide in Rwanda and Srebrenica, when he was head of UN Peace Keeping Operations, Mr Annan “never lost his moral compass, as he showed when he stood up to the might of the United States of America, when she was embarking on her ill-fated intervention in Iraq.”
He said Mr Annan’s “epic but unavailing effort” to establish a supremacy of international law over the actions of the world’s greatest power, “won him the admiration of all right-thinking persons,” adding, “History has vindicated him.”
“Undoubtedly, he excelled in the various undertakings of his life, leaving in his trails most pleasant memories. His was a life well lived.”
President Akufo-Addo said Mr Annan was an ardent believer in the capacity of the Ghanaian and African to chart his or her own course unto the path of progress and prosperity, and he, Busumuru Atta Annan, found the vision of a Ghana beyond Aid, and indeed an Africa beyond aid, very appealing.
He recalled the “sensitive, deeply appreciated advice” Mr Annan lent to him when he became president of Ghana in 2017, saying, “Ghana, Africa and the world have suffered greatly from his passing.”
Mr Annan died on August 18, after a brief illness in the Swiss city of Berne.
Earlier, dignitaries filled past his body that had been laid in State at the Accra International Conference Centre.
He will be given a private burial at the new Military Cemetery at Burma Camp in Accra, with the requisite military honours.