A security expert has called on the government to institute a national holiday in honour of the late former United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, Kofi Atta Annan.
Irbard Ibrahim said this is the only way the name ‘Kofi Annan’ will keep ringing in the ears of the world and also Ghana.
The security expert made the call on Ghana Television (GTV) during its special coverage of the arrival of the remains of the late UN Chief at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra on September 10, 2018.
“I think the state must institute a national holiday for Mr. Kofi Annan because that is the only way he will not be forgotten. The name of William Shakespear keeps ringing a bell because the English never let the name die. We still remember Mahatma Ghandi because the Indians never let the name die and that is what we should do for Kofi Annan”, he explained.
The remains of the late UN Secretary-General arrived at the Kotoka International Airport Monday evening. He was accompanied by the wife, children and grandchildren.
President Akufo-Addo, First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo, Vice President Bawumia, Speaker of Parliament Professor Mike Ocquaye, and other dignitaries were there to receive the remains.
Late Kofi Annan will be laid in state at the Accra International Conference Centre from 10am on Tuesday, September 11, to Thursday September 13, 2018.
Biography of late Kofi Annan
Kofi Annan joined the UN system in 1962 as an administrative and budget officer with the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva.
He later served with the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in Addis Ababa, the UN Emergency Force (UNEF II) in Ismailia, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva and in various senior posts in New York, dealing with human resource, budget, finance and staff security. Before becoming UN Secretary-General, he was Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping and facilitated the repatriation from Iraq of more than 900 international staff and other non-Iraqi nationals and also served as Special Representative of the Secretary-General to the former Yugoslavia and Special Envoy to NATO.
One of his main priorities during the period was a comprehensive programme of reforms that sought to revitalise the UN and make the international system more effective.
He was a constant advocate for human rights, the rule of law, the Millennium Development Goals and Africa, and sought to bring the organisation closer to the global public by forging ties with civil society, the private sector and other partners.
On his initiative, UN peacekeeping was strengthened in ways that enabled the UN to cope with a rapid rise in the number of operations and personnel. It was also at his urging that in 2005, member states established two new inter-governmental bodies: the Peacebuilding Commission and the Human Rights Council.
Mr Annan also played a central role in the creation of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria; the adoption of the UN’s first-ever counter-terrorism strategy and the acceptance by member states of the “responsibility to protect” people from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.
His “Global Compact” initiative, launched in 1999, has become the world’s largest effort to promote corporate social responsibility.
Annan believed that the expertise and evidence needed to solve pressing problems such as poverty, violent conflict and poor governance in most cases already existed, saying that progress was held back too often due to the lack of leadership and political will to use them to identify and deliver solutions.
He set up the Kofi Annan Foundation in 2007 to mobilise leaders of all sectors to provide leadership where it was needed.
With the foundation, he mobilised political will to overcome threats to peace, development and human rights. It works on the premise that there can be no long-term peace without development and no sustainable development without peace and that no society can long remain prosperous without the rule of law and respect for human rights.
The foundation works to identify new threats to peace and security and supports Annan’s preventive diplomacy and mediation activities.
It also works with selected partner organisations to amplify Annan’s voice and catalyse effective action on the promotion of food and nutrition security, sustainable development and support for good governance, the rule of law and respect for human rights.
Today, the foundation devotes considerable time to support democracy and elections with integrity.
Kofi Annan chaired the Global Commission on Elections, Democracy and Security (March 2011 to September 2012) and in January 2013, launched the West Africa Commission on Drugs as a response to the surge in drug trafficking and consumption in West Africa and their impact on security, governance and public health.
In early 2008, he led the African Union’s Panel of Eminent African Personalities which mediated a peaceful resolution to post-election violence in Kenya.
From February to August 2012, he was the UN-Arab League Joint Special Envoy for Syria mandated to seek a resolution to the conflict there.
Mr Annan was the Founding Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), which works for a food secure and prosperous Africa by promoting rapid, sustainable agricultural growth based on smallholder farmers.
He chaired the African Progress Panel, which advocates at the highest level equitable and sustainable development in Africa. The panel includes distinguished individuals from the public and the private sectors and publishes an annual Africa progress report.
He was an active member of The Elders, an independent group of global leaders which works together for peace and human rights, and in 2013 was appointed its chairperson.
Mr Annan was the Chancellor of the University of Ghana and held a number of positions at universities around the world.
He was a board member, patron or honorary member of a number of organisations, including the United Nations Foundation. He was married to Nane and they have three children.
His widely acclaimed memoir: Interventions: A Life in War and Peace, was published in 2012.