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Tribute to legendary diplomat – Kofi Annan (1938-2018)

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THE most devastating news over the sudden demise of the foremost global diplomat and Nobel Peace Laureate, Kofi Annan, on Saturday, August 18, 2018, was received with utter shock and bewilderment throughout the world.

Annan was reported to have died quietly at his home in Geneva, Switzerland, in the presence of his beloved family. Kofi Annan was the seventh Secretary-General of the World Body, United Nations Organization (UN) where he held sway for 10 years from 1997 to 2006, after he succeeded his fellow African Compatriot, Dr. Butrus Butrus Ghali of Egypt of the blessed memory. Kofi Annan, a charismatic and astute diplomat had the most successful and memorable career at the U.N having risen from the ranks of the U.N bureaucracy to the highest echelon to become the United Nations Chief Scribe at the most critical and unpredictable period in the history of the world body.

Kofi Annan’s many years of experience in the workings and diplomatic intricacies at the U.N had obviously prepared him for the great task ahead on his assumption of office as the Secretary-General at the U.N Headquarters in New York in 1997. He was obviously confronted with enormous challenges at a critical period when the international community was facing unprecedented nuclear threats from Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, as well as from other nuclear powers such as Iran and the extremely volatile parts of the world.

The dire situation then prevalent in the world therefore, required a great diplomat with political sagacity in the mould of Kofi Annan to successfully navigate the extremely precarious situation confronting the world. Kofi Annan, who was greatly gifted with high intellect, composure and always exuding self confidence was able to contain the war Tantrums from both former President George W. Bush of the U.S and his ally, Tony Blair, the then British Prime Minister, who had insisted to invade Iraq to destroy the nuclear Arsenals allegedly stock-piled by Saddam Hussein. Kofi Annan had advised against taking any unilateral military action against Iraq but rather preferred diplomatic engagement with the Iraqi regime.

The U.S and the U.K had vetoed the Security Council Resolution against any military intervention in Iraq and by this veto the stage was then set for both the U.S and her ally the U.K to carry-out the invasion of Iraq, an action Kofi Annan had strongly condemned as “an illegal act”.

Today, the Iraq war has continued to rage unabated with the attendant consequences of monumental proportion. The war, which had not only caused terrible devastation of Iraq in terms of colossal loss of lives and property but had equally caused in its wake, great humanitarian crisis throughout the Middle East region. The act of terrorism by Islamic terrorist groups such as the notorious Al-Qaida and the so called Islamic State or ISIS, among others, had equally spread like wild fire not only within Iraq itself but also throughout the extremely volatile Middle East region, notably in the War-torn Syria, where the war of supremacy is currently raging among the terrorist groups on the one hand and the Syrian Government on the other.

This terrible calamity would certainly have been averted had Washington and London heeded Kofi Annan’s wise counsel and pursued the viable option of dialogue and diplomacy in handling of the Iraqi nuclear disarmament.

Kofi Annan was truly a great global peace maker and an icon which earned him tremendous respect and reverence across the globe. He was a rare global personality with uncommon persuasive prowess. His clear sense of mission in his tireless pursuit of global peace had also earned him the highly prestigious Nobel Peace Prize for his monumental achievements for the entire humanity. Kofi Annan’s candour, humility and amiable disposition were legendary which obviously endeared him to the world leaders with whom he had personal interactions during the General Assembly meetings at the U.N Headquarters in New York, as well as in the course of his diplomatic missions abroad.

It is equally on record that Kofi Annan greatly succeeded in the total reformation of the various organs of the U.N, as well as his landmark achievement in the formation of the world acclaimed Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which had proved to be a huge success across the globe and a monumental legacy of Kofi Annan’s tenure as U.N Chief Scribe. Indeed, Kofi Annan’s disarming personality was equally legendary as he traversed the world capitals, as well as the crisis torn nations with his subtle diplomacy for peace and harmony in the world that is perpetually engulfed in endless wars and conflicts.

After his well deserved retirement in 2006, when he eventually handed over the mantle of leadership of the U.N to his worthy successor, Ban Kin Moon, Kofi Annan continued to engage himself in international peace efforts as the U.N Ambassador of Peace in various countries of the world, including Kenya, Syria and Myanmar, formally known as Burma, where he brokered peace between the mainly Buddhists majority and the Muslim minority, who were brutally attacked and murdered in their thousands by the Buddhists Government, led by Aung San Suu, but effectively controlled by the Armed Forces.

This unfortunate situation consequently gave rise to one of the greatest humanitarian crisis in modern times as millions of Myanmar Muslim minority group sought refuge in neighboring Bangladesh and which culminated in the intervention of the U.N to the troubled nation led by Kofi Annan.
Kofi Annan later established the “Kofi Annan Foundation” which was primarily aimed at youths’ leadership training and empowerment, as well as combating HIV and AIDS scourge, particularly in Africa. Kofi Annan will long be remembered as a global diplomat extra-ordinary and an embodiment of honour and integrity who had sacrificed greater part of his productive life for world peace and humanity.

As the world mourns this global colossus of our time, a great son and pride of Africa, it is hoped that the international community will continue to uphold the legacies of Kofi Annan, who had contributed immensely towards making the world currently torn apart by endless wars and conflicts, a safer place for the entire humanity.

Adieu-Great Son of Africa!
Adieu-Global Diplomat Par Excellence!!
Adieu-Epitome of Humanity!!!
Adieu-Great Nobel Peace Laureate and World Statesman!!!

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