Soldiers escort the casket of former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan during Annan's state funeral in Accra, Ghana, on Sept. 13, 2018. A number of African and world leaders joined Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo here on Thursday to bid farewell to former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who passed away in Switzerland on Aug. 18. (Xinhua/Fred Bonsu)
by Justice Lee Adoboe
ACCRA, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- A number of African and world leaders joined Ghanaian President Nana Aakufo-Addo here on Thursday to bid farewell to former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who passed away in Switzerland on Aug. 18.
Among the leaders at the state funeral organized by the government of Ghana were UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Alassane Ouattara of Cote d'Ivoire, and Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone.
In his tribute, Ghanaian President Akufo-Addo described Annan as charming, cosmopolitan, elegant, eloquent and gentle-mannered.
"He was a modest polyglot, proud African, peacemaker, quintessential diplomat. These words are still inadequate to capture the fullness of the personality of Kofi Annan, one truly iconic figure of modern times," Akufo-Addo said.
He added that Annan had given him sensitive and deeply appreciative advice when he took office as president of the Republic of Ghana.
"Kofi Annan was an ardent believer in the capacity of the Ghanaian and African to chart his or her own course on to the path of progress and prosperity.
"He found the vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid and, indeed, an Africa Beyond Aid very appealing," Akufo-Addo said. "Undoubtedly, he excelled in the various undertakings of his life, leaving in his trail most pleasant memories."
"His was a life well lived," he added.
Mourners poured over from the 1,600-capacity main hall of the conference center into the foyer which seats more than 500 people, as hundreds of media houses from across the globe provided coverage for the solemn occasion.
In his tribute, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that like his predecessor Dag Hammarskjold, Annan had an almost mystical sense of the role of the United Nations as a force for good in a world of ills.
"He pioneered new ideas and initiatives, including the Millennium Development Goals, and the landmark reforms in his report -- In Larger Freedom. He opened the doors of the United Nations, bringing the organization closer to the world's people," Guterres said.
Annan was an exceptional leader whom not only the UN but the whole world would miss, Guterres added.
Nane Annan, widow of the departed former secretary-general, expressed gratitude to Ghana for giving her and the world such a caring husband and a leader.
She was proud that she and her children were joining the world to mourn the man who had put Ghana's name so high on the world map.