Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Saturday described late Kofi Annan as a global statesman, who dedicated his life to equity, justice, stability, security, human rights and other virtues that promote world peace.
Annan, who was a former Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), died on Saturday at the age of 80 years in a Swiss hospital. Obasanjo in a statement issued in Abeokuta to react to the death of Annan, said he received the news with sadness and shock.
He noted that Annan’s lifestyle and qualities were responsible for his appointment as the UN Secretary General in 1997 as well as the Nobel Peace Price he won in 2001.
“I received the shocking news of the demise of former United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, with deep sadness as the loss of a brother and friend.
“I commiserate with the Annan family, particularly the Late Mr Annan’s widow, Nane Maria and their children Ama, Kojo and Nina. “I equally commiserate with 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,” he said.
He recalled Annan’s contributions to conflict resolution in Syria and Myanmar as UN and Arab League joint Special Envoy in Syria and as Chair of the UN Advisory Commission on Rakhine State.
Obasanjo noted that Annan, in both cases, respectively demonstrated his statesmanship and diplomacy, adding that he was also dedicated, firm and just.
“In this moment of grief, I fondly remember Kofi’s contribution to good governance and sustainable development in Africa, particularly through the Kofi Annan Foundation and the Africa Progress Panel, a group of ten distinguished individuals which advocated policy change for sustainable development in Africa.
“Kofi Chaired the Africa Progress Panel, and I was a member, until 2017 when we took a decision to transfer the activities of the Panel from Geneva, Switzerland, to the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta, Ogun, Nigeria, under the name of Africa Progress Group,” he said.
The former president called on “all men and women of goodwill” to unite in upholding and sustaining the legacies of Annan. “This can be done, especially through support for the Kofi Annan Foundation and the Africa Progress Group, which succeeded the Africa Progress Panel, both of which he led very ably in his life time,” he said.