My encounter with Kofi Annan, by Abdulrazaq O Hamzat

My first encounter with Kofi Annan happened in my peace course material; then our path crossed in real life.
Anyone who has a degree in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution will most likely come across the name of Kofi Annan and Boutrus Ghali almost on a daily basis.
Apart from Mahatma Ghandi of India, the famous nonviolent resistance activist, Boutrus Ghali and Kofi Annan are arguably the two most important figures in the development of peace practice, particularly at the United Nations.
Whenever you hear the phrase, “‘agenda for peace,” expect the mention of Boutrus Ghali, but when you hear “peace building,” expect to hear Kofi Annan.
Both men are from Africa and they are both former Secretary General of United Nations who played leading role in the development of those concepts.
After coming across Kofi Annan all through my first degree classes in our course materials, i later came close to meeting the icon during my M.Sc.
Immediately after my first degree from the University, I published a book titled “‘African Traditional Methods of Promoting Peace in the 21st Century.” The book was an improved version of my final year thesis at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) Somehow, Rashid Zuberu, a respected friend in the peace building sector, who thinks highly of the book sent it to the Kofi Annan Institute and they indicated interest in adopting the book as one of their course materials.
However, things didn’t go as thought.
What is important here is that, even though the deal didn’t eventually scale through, it kept my memory of the icon fresh and my determination to meet him was activated? Again, after Foundation for Peace Professionals (FPP) was established and we decided to produce Nigeria Peace Index (NPI) as our first major research project, I had resolved that during the launch of the project, I will ensure Kofi Annan is there to unveil it.
Actually, i went ahead to inquire what it takes to bring Annan to Nigeria from Switzerland, where he was based and what was left was to complete the NPI and secure the commitment.
However, we could not complete the project on time due many factors and when we eventually did; things have changed for us; that bringing him to Nigeria was totally out of the equation.
The Nigeria Peace Index wasn’t even properly launched, we only presented it to the media in a small conference and that was all.
Hopefully, the next edition will be better and it will enjoy greater feasibility.
To now imagine that the peace icon i read, repeatedly in text books is gone is more like a misery.
Even though i never meet him in person, it always felt like we are together.
According to Hajer Sharief who had been mentored by Kofi Annan, she said the last time they met, he said they will meet again.
I wish he told me that.
I wish I can actually meet him again, but obviously, the peaceful man is gone.
Did you read the statement that announced his departure? They said he died peaceful.
He lived peacefully too and can we then guess how he would rest? The death of Kofi Annan is painful to me because, my dream of bringing the global citizen to Nigeria and sitting side by side with him is gone.
But the thought that such a great mind shared this continent with me is enough consolation.
Kofi Annan maybe gone, but he will always remain with us for generations.
Rest in Peace baba, like you lived in Peace baba!

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply