It is said that, if it rains on a funeral procession, the deceased will go to heaven; and if you hear a clap of thunder immediately after a burial, it indicates that the soul of the departed has reached the gates of heaven.
And as if to confirm this African belief, barely 30 minutes after the late Busumuru Kofi Annan was laid to rest, the clouds suddenly went grey and foggy, releasing some showers.
Superstitious or not, many Ghanaians took solace in yesterday’s 10-minute shower, believing that their illustrious son had taken his seat of honour in the after-world.
The late former United Nations (UN) Secretary-General was laid to rest at the Military Cemetery in Accra, yesterday.
Ahead of the final interment rites, a State burial service was held in his honour at the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC).
“He always believed that his inner strength and sense of home came from his deep roots here, and I want to thank Ghana for giving us an extraordinary human being,” Nane Maria Annan, wife of Mr. Annan said in her tribute.
Mrs. Annan had been described as a strong woman for her demeanour throughout the funeral―a widow who smiled in the midst of pain.
She, however, lost her grip over her tear ducts as tears burst down her cheeks when her husband’s remains was being lowered into the ground.
Nane recalled how excited her husband was when he returned to Ghana after serving humanity in different parts of the world.
“I remember how excited he always was returning home, home to Ghana. On arrival he would draw in the air, feel the breeze and he would look so happy,” she said.
According to her, Kofi Annan had a courageous heart, was compassionate, and able to touch the lives of many, some of whose names the world did not know.
“He challenged all of us to work for a better world right where we are in our homes, villages, towns and in our cities. All you needed to do is to take one small step and another,” she said.
Nane continued: “My love, you are now back home, we stopped after your own journey. May you rest in peace, but may your belief and compassion continue to inspire us and guide our steps wherever we are.”
The first daughter of the late diplomat, Ama Annan Adedeji said the presence of her father brought renewed hope and solace to his children and other young people.
She described her father as one with a soft heart, soft voice and steady temperament.
In a rather short tribute, Ama extolled her father’s life as one perfectly lived and concluded thus: “I am very lucky to have had such a man as my father.”
Her tribute caught the attention of many in the auditorium and was followed with a loud and long applause.
UN Secretary-General, António Guterres also paid glowing tribute to the man who once occupied his seat.
Guterres described Mr. Annan as one of a kind, adding that those in despair always found in him a comforting shoulder to lean on.
For the UN, the deceased was a force to reckon with as his words of advice were never taken for granted.
Mr Guterres said even though Mr Annan’s voice was usually gentle, his words were tough and wise.
“Kofi Annan was the UN and the UN was him [Kofi Annan],” the UN boss declared while attracting resounding applause from the thousands mourners who thronged the AICC.
Ambassador Kobina Aidoo, a member of the Annan family described the late diplomat as a stubborn optimist.
“He would want us all to look forward with hope and keep striving to create a freer, fairer and more peaceful world,” he said.
Even on the final day of the funeral, some members of the public hoped that some miracle would happen and Kofi Annan’s casket would be opened so they could catch a glimpse of their hero.
They had indicated that the closed casket was not in tune with the Ghanaian way of mourning the dead, arguing that there were no arrangements for the public to see the corpse as was the case of late President J.E.A. Mills and Former Vice President, Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur.
By: Grace Ablewor Sogbey/ firstname.lastname@example.org