I was in faraway Mafi Akukokpo, a small village in the Mafi Zongo Electoral Area of the Central Tongu District of the Volta Region, Ghana, West Africa when I heard of the sudden demise of a hero, mentor, role model, peace advocate and governance icon, Kofi Annan.
That community is one of the most deprived in Ghana and has been in the news lately for their lack of potable water. As their Local Assembly Member, I could not sleep after watching the video of the poor women, children and men drinking a water that is “muddy, brownish, unclean and thick as porridge”, unhygienic and contaminated from unwholesome source. We have appealed to authorities to help solve the challenges but to no avail and the only option left was to involve the media. So definitely I was in the community with some development partners to iron out how we could help them get access to potable water.
I was really petrified when news pop in of the death of somebody I always pray to meet. In fact, my prayer has always been to meet Kofi Annan and Barack Obama. These two global leaders inspire me to the brim. It sounded fake but time and time pass by and leading major media networks in Ghana started confirming it. The latter the boom came from the BBC, CNN, and Aljazeera among other global media outlets. We have lost a fine gentleman who carried Ghana and Africa to the United Nations (UN). I cannot agree more when Anthony Guttaires, the current UN Secretary General said that “Kofi Annan was the UN”.
Mr. Kofi Annan was a legend of peace, leadership and governance. His love and stance on affairs of the youths and children are worth emulating by all leaders across the world. He demonstrated through his exploits with the UN that humanity has the ability to make development sustainable to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In summary, Kofi Annan was a generational thinker who ruthlessly believed in this current generation to make a better and progressive future for the next generation.
But I believe that, as young leaders, the best tribute and remembrance of this legend is to continue shaping our local communities and ensure we collaboratively work to ensure we achieve the United Nations target of eradicating poverty and hunger. That means, we lead the agenda for the creation and implementation of society-transforming initiatives that would ensure community development, local economic development and transformation.
I believe, we the youths must be the change we want to see in the world if we really want the legacies of Kofi Annan to live on. Kofi Annan really represents the best of everything the world needs.
We must disruptively and innovatively ensure governments and those in authorities at all levels create a just and empowered society which would not create economic growth in which the majority are poor but a system where those poor get their fair share of the resources required for growth. This also means that, we the youths must ensure our local communities participates in political processes and decision making and that their voices are heard by those in authority no matter the cost it comes with. It also calls for accountability and equity in service delivery. We must push for efforts to develop plans and make policies that ensure growth and bridge the inequality gap.
To get the kind of Kofi Annan in Africa would take ages. He was Africa to the whole world and Africa was him. He represented every good thing the world needs to know about Africa. But to be able to produce another Kofi Annan then we the youths must take up leadership and governance roles in our local communities, volunteer to make a difference in the lives of fellow Africans and work with hard work to have our presence felt at the global level.
African Youths must be passionate and zealous about leadership, entrepreneurship and volunteerism and building an impeccable career or professional future for themselves and society. We must be passionate about servant leadership and being active citizens by creating change and making positive differences in our communities, Africa, and the world. We must always be socially responsible by getting connected with the problems of our communities as well as the solutions. We the youths must certainly return to society some of the benefits that have been given us through the shaping of lives and creating differences within them.
These are the only way another Kofi Annan could be produced. But when we fail to do these, then the world would go back to the chasm.
I believe we can and we will. “Yes we can”
It is a sad moment for Africa and it is a sad moment for global peace and development.
But I believe, Kofi Annan never dies.
Hedenyuie (RIP) Kofi Annan
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