The Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, has eulogised Kofi Annan as a great leader, describing the former UN boss as “one-of-a-kind”.
“He was an exceptional global leader,” Mr. Guterres said in Accra Thursday during the burial service of Mr. Annan at the Accra International Conference Centre.
Mr. Annan who died on Saturday August 18, 2018 in a hospital at Bern in Switzerland, will be burried Thursday in Accra having laid in state for two days.
Paying tribute to him, Guterres said the former UN chief was a person that almost everyone across the globe saw themselves in, as brought people together, put them at ease and united them towards a common goal for our common humanity.
“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,” he said of the man who served two terms.
For him, Kofi Annan was a “courageous” person who spoke truth to power and the same time subjected himself to intense self-scrutiny.
Guterres recalled how Kofi Annan pioneered ideas and initiatives like the Millennium Development Goals, and how he took the UN closer to the world and engaged people in protecting the environment, defending hunman rights and combatting HIV/Aids and other killer diseases.
“Kofi Annan was the United Nations and the United Nations was him,” Guterres declared.
As someone who worked with Kofi Annan, Guterres said he would continually be inspired by the integrity, dynamism and dedication exhibited by Annan, especially so when he now occupies the post Annan once held.
To Kofi Annan, Guterres said “indifference was the world’s worst poison”, something he said spurred the man on to continue with battling on the frontlines of diplomacy even after exiting office.
“Kofi straddled many worlds, North and South East and West,” he said.
The UN boss said though Kofi Annan is no more, “if we continue to lean in and listen hard, we will still hear the words and wise counsel of Kofi Annan”.
Consequently Guterres has asked world leaders to be inspired by the legacy of Kofi Annan.