Nane Maria Lagergren, the widow of Kofi Atta Annan, the 7th United Nations Secretary-General, on Thursday thanked Ghana for the gift of a husband who many have commended as having represented the best of humankind.
Nane said she believed that the Peace and Humanitarian legend that Kofi Annan became was inspired by his formative foundation, rooted in cherished Ghanaian customs and values.
The legacy of Kofi Annan, she said in a tribute at a state funeral service, will continue to live on ‘as he starts his long journey to eternity’.
She described the times they spent together as a couple as “wondrous moments, wondrous moments” and thanked him for sharing his “courageous heart, his love of life and deep humanity" with her.
“I’m grateful that we celebrated your 80th birthday in the fold of our beautiful family and made wonderful memories, which will continue to give us strength,” Nane, who married Kofi Annan in 1984, said in a calm voice.
“May you rest in peace and may your wisdom and compassion continue to inspire us and light our way.”
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Nane also expressed gratitude to the millions of mourners across the globe who had condoled with them since the passing of their beloved, on August 18, 2018.
Ama Annan Adedeji, daughter of Kofi Annan, said to her late father: “Thank you for believing in me, your unwavering support and most of all, for showing me how to live by letting me watch you”.
Her brother, Kojo, also said, “You took all my needs upon your broad shoulders, whilst at the same time carrying the world’s problems”.
The memorial service was attended by many dignitaries and well-wishers, including President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo, Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia and Samira Bawumia, all Ghana's living former Presidents, and some foreign Presidents as well.
Mr Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary-General was also at the ceremony to read a tribute on behalf of the World Body, describing Kofi Annan, “as a guiding force for good”.
“During the tumultuous era in which he led the United Nations, he combined compassion, commitment and diplomatic skill to bring the Organisation closer to the world’s people, build the foundations of peace and give life to the values of the Charter”, Guterres said of Kofi Annan, the doyen of world peace.
Kofi Annan rose through the ranks to head the UN from January 1997 to December 1996, and in 2001, he co-won the Nobel Peace Prize.