Amanonehene of Akuapem, Chief of Adamorobe, Ghana
Aburi-Akuapem, Patron of Okuapemman Fekuw USA, Inc.
25 March 2002
It is an honour for me to say something about Kofi Annan, United Nations Secretary-General. Our first meeting was in the 1960s in Addis Ababa, where my late husband K. K. Apeadu was on assignment with the Economic Commission for Africa. Kofi was a bright young professional and just beginning his career with the United Nations. My husband commented even then that he was a young man with a vision. The Ghanaian community was very close and we would all meet regularly at get-togethers and parties. A generous spirit, Kofi was always present with his sense of humour and soft-spoken nature.
Later in the 1980s and 90s, after my husband had been lost in the line of duty in a plane crash, I met Kofi again at UN Headquarters in New York where Kofi headed Peace-Keeping Operations. As I was the chairperson of the Ad Hoc Committee for UN Family Rights, looking after the rights of the UN spouses, Kofi would take time to meet with me over spousal concerns. Despite his crowded schedule, he always had time for this sensitive issue.
Kofi’s hallmark is that of modesty, perseverance and above all, humility. Every Ghanaian child is given a ‘soul’ name of the day that he or she is born. In the Akans language, Kofi means Friday. But I wish to add to Kofi the honorific Odehye, the Akans epithet for ‘royal born’.
May I take this opportunity to say Ayekoo, which means ‘congratulations’, and to say that Ghana is most proud. As a nation, Ghana recognizes Mr. Annan’s contribution to the world body. And in taking pride in their son, the Kofi Annan International Centre and the Kofi Annan Cup for soccer have been established. Whenever I hear Kofi Annan’s name, I myself feel extremely proud.