By Ken Sackey/Belinda Ayamgha, GNA
Accra, Sept. 10, GNA - The remains of Kofi Annan, a former United Nations Secretary General and Nobel Peace Laureate, arrived in Accra, on Monday, ahead of a three-day state burial.
The aircraft carrying the statesman taxied to the tarmac at the Jubilee Lounge of the Kotoka International Airport, at 1728 hours, where President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and First lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo, and Mr Annan’s family were waiting.
President Akufo-Addo and First Lady Rebecca Akufo, accompanied by the Head of the Planning Committee, Ambassador Annan A. Cato and Ambassador Kwabena Annan, welcomed the widow of the Mr Annan, Madam Nane Maria Annan, and their children.
Also at the Airport were the Vice President Alhaji Mahamadu Bawumia, Speaker of Parliament Professor Aaron Mike Ocquaye, a host of ministers and other state officials.
There were also members of the diplomatic corps, clad in black mourning attire, and black suits.
Traditional leaders from both Asanteman, from where Kofi Annan’s father hailed and Akwamufie, his matrimonial home, also came to receive their son’s mortal remains, amidst a sombre, subdued atmosphere.
The casket carrying Mr Annan, draped in the colours of UN flag of blue and white, was carried by military pall bearers onto the tarmac where libation was poured and Christian prayers were said to receive and prepare his body for burial.
Mr Annan passed away on August 18, 2018 in the Swiss city of Berne after a brief illness. He and the UN were the co-recipients of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize.
Born in Kumasi, he joined the UN in 1962, working for the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Office in Geneva.
He then went to serve in various capacities at the UN Headquarters including serving as Under Secretary-General for peacekeeping from March 1992 to December 1996.
He was appointed the UN Chief in December 1996 by the Security Council and later confirmed by the General Assembly, becoming the first office holder to be elected from the UN staff itself.
Mr Annan was re-elected for a second term in 2001 and was succeeded by South Korea’s Ban Ki-moon on January 01, 2007.
As Secretary-General, he worked to reform the UN bureaucracy, combat the deadly HIV spread, especially in Africa and launched the UN Global Compact.
He also initiated the Millennium Development Goals towards improving the lots of the poor around the world.
After serving out his term, he formed the Kofi Annan Foundation in 2007 to work on international development, peace and humanitarianism.
He was also the Chairman of “The Elders”, an international organisation founded by Nelson Mandela.
In 2012, Mr Annan became the UN-Arab League Joint Special Representative for Syria, to aid efforts at resolving the bloody conflict there but quit over his frustration with the lack of progress with regard to conflict resolution.
He was appointed to lead a UN Commission to investigate the Rohingya crisis in September 2016.
Mr Annan studied Economics at Macalester College – International Relations from the Graduate Institute Geneva and Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
He is survived by his wife Nane Marie Lagergren and their Children, Ama, Kojo and Nina.