Oluwatobi Akindele and Agency report
Leaders and royalties across the globe have paid their respects to the ex-United Nations chief, Kofi Annan, at his funeral in his home country on Thursday.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; ex-military Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, and Senate President, Bukola Saraki, among other Nigerian leaders, were also in attendance to pay their last respects.
Annan, a Ghanaian national and Noble laureate, died in a Swiss hospital in August at the age of 80.
His body was flown to Accra on Monday for burial in his homeland, where he is seen as a national hero.
The funeral was the climax of three-day mourning which saw thousands of Ghanaians file past his coffin as it lay in state in the capital, Accra.
Annan was the UN Secretary-General from 1997 to 2006, the first black African to hold the world’s top diplomatic post.
He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001 for helping to revitalise the international body, during a period that coincided with the Iraq War and the HIV/Aids pandemic.
Reuters reported that around 6,000 mourners packed the auditorium for Thursday’s official service.
Current UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, was among the dignitaries present, alongside former Ghanaian Presidents, the leaders of Ivory Coast, Liberia, Namibia and Niger, and the Crown Prince of Norway.
Royalties included Princess Beatrix, the former queen of the Netherlands, and her daughter-in-law, Princess Mabel, who were close friends.
Speaking at the funeral, Guterres said Annan was an exceptional leader who saw the UN as a force for good.
“As we face the headwinds of our troubled and turbulent times, let us always be inspired by the legacy of Kofi Annan,” Guterres said.
“Our world needs it now more than ever,” he added.
British Broadcasting Corporation reported that Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo, described Annan as “one of the truly iconic figures of modern times.”
“The outpouring of tributes from the world over is an accurate measure of the man, a man who gave his life to making peace where there was conflict, to defending the voiceless who were powerless, to promoting virtue where there was evil,” he said.
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