Politics

Kofi Annan, our great in-law

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, must be briefing the President on Nigeria’s role in the funeral of former United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan. He was not just Ghanaian and world figure, the man was one of us. Kofi Annan Annan died in Switzerland on August 18, and his burial is billed for September 18, in his home country. Onyeama has something with the Swiss. His father, Justice Charles Dadi Onyeama, was a Judge of the International Court of Justice at the Hague from 1967 to 1976. We note that the top diplomat died in the country where our minister spent part of his salad days. Annan’s first wife is, Titi Alakija, who gave him two children, Kojo and Ama. Their marriage in 1965 lasted until 1983, but that did not severe his links with Nigeria. Ama is married to Adepoju Adedeji. Kojo’s middle name is Adeyemo. Titi is the daughter Chief Adeyemo Alakija, a great Nigerian who had links all over the world from Brazil to the United Kingdom and beyond. He was a co-founder of the Daily Times of Nigeria, founding member of the Nigeria Football Association in 1933[not 1945] and founding member of the kofi.png Island club, Lagos. Chief Alakija was the Lisa of Egbaland, Woje Ileri of Ile-Ife and had ancestral links with Oyo. His father was one of the freed men who returned from Brazil to begin a new life in Lagos. Alakija’s brother set up legal practice in Bahia, Brazil. Kojo Annan shares the same birth date, 25th, with his grandfather after whom he was named. Chief Alakija was born in September 1884, his grandson, July, 1973. The Ghanaian is a regular face in his mother’s Lagos home. Onyeama should know quite a lot about Annan’s father in–law, who was also a lawyer. Chief Alakija’s niece was married to Justice Olumuyiwa Jibowu, the first Nigerian High Court judge and also the first indigenous Justice of the Supreme Court. The first indigenous Chief Justice of Nigeria, Sir Adetokunbo Ademola, was Chief Alakija’s nephew and son of Oba Samuel Ademola, Alake of Abeokuta. This paints a large picture of Nigeria’s relationship with Annan. I expect President Muhammadu Buhari to lead a powerful delegation to Osu Castle to support the Annans. Mr. President could go with Nigerian members of the UN family. These include Mrs Amina Mohammed, Dr. Ibrahim Gambari, Gen. Isaac Obiakor and Mrs Joy Ogwu. Part of that delegation should be Chief Emeka Anyaoku, first African Secretary General of the Commonwealth. For those who do not remember, Annan and Anyaoku, played crucial roles in Buhari’s peaceful emergence as President in 2015.

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