FATHER OF FUNMI, KOGI-BORN PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN’S APPOINTEE, PROF ZACCHAEUS OLORUNNIPA SPEAKS EXCLUSIVELY TO DGOVSCOOPS ON HIS DAUGHTER’S APPOINTMENT AS ASSOCIATE COUNSEL TO PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN AS WELL AS HOW HE FEELS ALSO HAVING FUNMI’S YOUNGER BROTHER, TOLUSE IN THE WHITE HOUSE AS WASHINGTON POST CORRESPONDENT.
THE INTERVIEW CONDUCTED BY OUR TEAM OF EDITORS IS SIMPLY UNPUTDOWNABLE. READ ON:
Q: How do you feel as a father with the appointment of Mrs Funmi Olorunnipa Badejo( Your biological daughter)as an Associate Counsel to the US President Joe Biden?
A: I feel highly favored by GOD and greatly elated and honored about my dear daughter’s (Mrs Oluwafunmilayo Olorunnipa- Badejo) appointment as an Associate Counsel to the US President Joe Biden.
Additionally, how I felt and still feel is largely portrayed by the meaning of my daughter’s first name – Oluwafunmilayo (or “Funmi”, for short) meaning GOD has given me joy. Her new appointment in the Biden-Harris’s administration is part of my testimony that God has indeed given me joy.
” She(Funmi) displayed very high sense of responsibility at an early age”
Q: What special attribute did you notice in the young Funmi while growing?
A: My daughter, Funmi, started very early in her childhood days to display evidence of high intelligence, confidence, inquisitiveness, determination to succeed, focus and leadership qualities. She was always asking us as parents (her mom in particular) unending questions. Additionally, she displayed very high sense of responsibility at an early age. For example, at 4 years old she was already helping her parents take care of her two younger brothers whenever the parents were engaged otherwise or not available to help the her little brothers. As she grew older, the more Funmi developed traits reminiscent of a lawyer in the making.
” My wife and I give all the glory to God who gave us specific strategies we engaged in raising them(Funmi and Tolu)”
Q: You must really be a proud father who also has a son,Tolu Olorunnipa, a popular journalist and political analyst as White House Correspondent of Washington Post? Two of your children making waves in their various endeavours in the US.
A: Words are not enough to describe how thankful I am to God who has helped my wife and I in raising our 4 children
successfully in the US culture which was initially foreign to us in many ways.
Yes, as a father, I am very proud of the contributions Funmi Olorunnipa-Badejo and Toluse Olorunnipa are making respectively in the political and journalistic landscapes of the American economy and beyond. Allow me to paraphrase an adage in my native village that summarizes how I feel about the waves my children are making globally: ‘If your masquerade dances well, your head will swell for joy’. Although we come from a small village whose name is not even on the map, the achievements and contributions of Funmi and her 3 brothers Toluse, Shola (a Surgeon) and Yemi (a School administrator) are making is gradually turning the situation around. I say more grease (and grace) to their elbows.
Concerning the success of our children, my wife and I give all the glory to God who gave us specific strategies we engaged in raising them. Details of these strategies are not provided here for need for brevity and time constraints. However, the strategies have been well documented in a book written by my wife and I and titled: “RAISING SUCCESSFUL CHILDREN:
A Guide for Christian Parents”. You can purchase the book anywhere books are sold and also from my publisher at www.elevivpublishing.com.
” I only wished former President Trump had accepted the will of God and the people and let God and democracy continue to have their way in the United States of America”
Q: You are a retired University Don, how is life in retirement?
A: By God’s grace I can say life in retirement is exciting, self-fulfilling and satisfactorily rewarding. After about 28 years of teaching, research and other academic pursuits I retired from my University job as a full Professor to focus (as a full time Pastor) on a ministry I had run part time for 20 years.
Although I love teaching and miss my students, my full time pastoral work since my retirement from the University keeps me busy, gives me more flexibility, and a sense of satisfaction that I am answering God’s call for me to serve Him. My plan, prayer and expectation was that I would retire from my secular job to refire to serving God. The Lord has been my Ebenezer. Glory be to Him.
“I strongly agree with those who are advocating for the need to review the US Constitution and make appropriate amendments as necessary”
Q: You must have been keenly watching political developments in the US under the Trump Presidency for some time now, what is your candid opinion of the Trump Presidency?
A:Every administration has its strengths and weaknesses. By the result of the recently concluded US election the people have spoken, loud and clear. I don’t think my candid opinion about Trump’s Presidency would matter much now. I only wished former President Trump had accepted the will of God and the people and let God and democracy continue to have their way in the United States of America. Part of our role and responsibility as believers is to pray for the government and those in authority (1 Tim 2:1-3)
May God bless America, Nigeria and other nations.
“All available resources should be deployed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic that has claimed almost 400,000 lives and about to paralyze the economy”
Q: After the invasion of Capitol Hill, political commentators have advocated the need to take a second look at the US constitution and effect amendments where necessary. Do you share their views?
A: Yes, I strongly agree with those who are advocating for the need to review the US Constitution and make appropriate amendments as necessary. In particular, I am of the opinion that, in general, no single person should be able to veto or take a unilateral decision that can negatively impact millions of lives without due consultation with at least a select group of advisers and/or law makers.
“The racial divide in the US is a huge menace that has lingered on for too long and continues to serve as an intractable constraint to the greatness of America”
Q: As an American resident, what is your Number one expectation from the Biden Presidency?
A:All available resources to combat the COVID-19 pandemic that has claimed almost 400,000 lives and about to paralyze the economy. Fortunately, this is the approach President Biden had taken even before his inauguration. I believe he will do more in this regard having taken over power now.”
“I hope that President Biden will….Promulgate policies that will mitigate against racial prejudices and enhance unity among the different racial and ethnic groups in the US”
Q: Now let’s talk about COVID-19 and its devastating effects in the US. Is the vaccination process in the country proceeding in the right direction?
A:Glory be to God that by early December 2020, at least 2 effective vaccines have been developed to combat the COVID 19 pandemic. However, an effective and efficient distribution mechanism is a sine qua non for achieving the anticipated result of suppressing the spread of the virus, saving as many lives as possible, and recovering the economy from collapsing.
The progress of distribution of COVID 19 pandemic vaccine has been slower than projected. Former President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed projected that 20 million Americans would be inoculated in “the next several weeks” as predicted by his
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. However, the reality was that the U.S vaccination which began about mid December 2020 had fewer than 4 million people inoculated by January 1, 2021.
Some of the initial factors that have impaired distribution of the vaccine include the challenge of maintaining the frozen temperature of –70 degrees Fahrenheit in the case of the Pfizer-BioNtech version and inadequate preparedness of health-care organizations, pharmacy chains, and state health officials to administer shots at the projected pace.
The order of
priority in receiving the vaccine, has been stated as follows:
- Frontline doctors, nurses, first responders, nursing home workers and people of all ages with two or more risk factors.
- Teachers, school staff members, childcare workers and people working in the food supply chain.
- Children and adults ages 30 and younger.
- Everyone else living in the
Significant improvement in the speed of vaccination is expected under the incoming President elect Joe Biden who has already promised that 100 million people will be vaccinated during his first 100 days in the office. I wish him success in this bold promise.
Q: A lot has been said about racial divides in the US generally seen to be exacerbated by former President Trump. What do think is the shortest route to a genuine healing process in the country?
A:The racial divide in the US is a huge menace that has lingered on for
too long and continues to serve as an intractable constraint to the greatness of America. If it were possible to compute the value of losses (human lives, lost time, foregone opportunity costs, etc) that have taken place due to racial divides, no doubt that the ensuring number will be
In my own humble opinion
the shortest route to a genuine healing process in the country is to aggressively pursue policies that will accelerate the process of overcoming racial prejudices by turning the American society to a colorblind one.
This principle was first advocated by Rev Martin Luther King Jr. on August 28, 1963, when he said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Although some limited progress has been made since Dr King shared his dream nearly 60 years ago, huge disparities still loom between whites and blacks who tend to have higher unemployment rates, earn less money and graduate from college at lower rates.
New data from the 2019. Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) showed that the typical White family has eight times the wealth of the typical Black family and five times the wealth of the typical Hispanic family.
I hope that President Biden will, as part of his strategies to boost the greatness of America among the comity of nations, promulgate policies that will
mitigate against racial prejudices and enhance unity among the different racial and ethnic groups in the US.”
Q:On a lighter note, are you planning to return to Nigeria someday soon?
A: Yes, by the grace of God,
I will return to Nigeria soon.
There is a saying that there is no place like home. I personally subscribe to this saying. However, with the level that Nigeria has been allowed to degenerate to, I have my doubts if many of our people in diaspora still see any truism in the saying alluded to above.
Permit me to use this forum to appeal to our leaders to shun corruption, greed, nepotism, despondency, exploitation of the masses, gross
mismanagement, etc and focus on building a Nigeria that all of us will be proud of. God bless Nigeria.
” (Nigerian) leaders (should)focus on building a Nigeria that all of us will be proud of”
Q: Thank you so much for your time sir. But before we draw the curtain on this interview, our readers would like know a little about you sir? Especially your teaching career Sir.
A: Thank you very much. I am Prof Zacchaeus I Olorunnipa. I was born at Araromi-Igbo in Kabba/Bunu Local Government Area of Kogi State. I had my
Bsc degree at the University of Ibadan,
MSc, P. D. Ed at ABU Zaria and
PhD Agro Economics at the University of Illinois. I retired as a Professor of Agribusiness at Florida A&M University USA. By the grace of God, I am presently Senior Pastor, Reedemed Christian Church of God(RCCG), Go Ye Chapel, Tallahassee, Florida, USA.