President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has cut the sod for work to begin on a 20-foot statue to be erected in honour of the late United Nations Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan, at the entrance of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, (KAIPTC) at Teshie, in Accra.
The monument, which is scheduled to be completed in six months, will be built with marble and would have a width of six feet and weigh 21 tonnes.
While the statue will be in everlasting memory of the Ghanaian diplomat, it will also, when completed, be expected to attract local and international tourists.
The sod-cutting ceremony was part of the line-up of activities to commemorate the maiden edition of the Kofi Annan Peace and Security Forum in Accra. It was on the theme: “Peace operation in the context of violent extremism in Africa.”
The two-day forum was attended by political leaders, diplomats and security experts who dialogued and shared ideas on critically evolving trends on peace and security on the African continent.
Mr Annan was the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations from January 1997 to December 2006. In 2001, he and the UN were co-recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize.
President Nana Akufo-Addo, before cutting the sod, eulogised the late international diplomat, describing him as an industrious man who was principled and “lived his life in accordance with those values.”
He urged all to live and act in ways that would see their efforts recognised by others.
The Minister of Defence, Mr Dominic Nitiwul, who doubles as the Chairman of the Governing Board of the KAIPTC, said Kofi Annan dedicated his life to peace in the world and hence the need to honour him.
Among others, the minister said, Mr Annan had direct influence on the KAIPTC which had enabled the centre to continue with its mandate of providing capacity development and support to regional peace initiatives.
After watching a video concept of the statue, the widow, Mrs Nane Annan, said the monument was a depiction of her husband’s optimism and vision to make life better for all.
On behalf of her family, she expressed her appreciation to all who supported and helped them embrace life in the difficult past year.
The Chief Military Architect, Lt Colonel Albert Benjamin Tekyi, explained that the statue design was selected out of three posture designs submitted for consideration.
He said the statue’s 20-foot height was chosen to achieve the purpose of having a towering figure at the entrance of the KAIPTC and it would be “strategically placed closed to the boundary fence and road for all to see and appreciate Ghana’s international peace diplomat.”
Speaking to journalists after the event, the Chief Executive Officer of the Stone Depot, Mr Elias G. Hage, said the materials for the historical monument were carefully selected taking into consideration the marine environment and other factors to ensure that it “looks better with time since the marble stone is original, durable, water-resistant and would not suffer weather discolouration.”
The sod-cutting event was witnessed by some former African presidents such as Catherine Samba-Panza of Central African Republic, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud of the Federal Republic of Somalia, Dr Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone and Professor Amos Claudius Sawyer of Liberia as well as Pierre Buyoya of Burundi and AU High Representative to Mali and Sahel (MISAHEL).