Browsing Month December, 2010

Somalis rally to support candidate for homeland president

By , December 19, 2010 | 4:41 am | 0 Comment

Somalis rally to support candidate for homeland president

ONUMBA.COM – The treacherous road to peace and stability in the East African nation of Somalia could pass through Columbus where Abdulkadir “Fish” Ali officially kicked off his candidacy for the president of his war-battered homeland.

Ali, who was the Chairman of the Somali Chamber of Commerce in Columbus, made his candidacy official last week at a rally held in Days Inn on E. Dublin Granville Road. 

Before a group of friends and supporters, at an event bunting with Somali flags and patriotic songs, Ali urged his fellow Somalis in their native tongue to rally around his candidacy under the mantra:  “2011 New Hope for Somalia.”

If he prevails in his bid, he vowed to establish an effective government rooted in “honesty, integrity and accountability.”

In his speech, Ali outlined some of his plans to steer Somalia out of the crippling conflict that has robbed it of an effective government for nearly two decades. 

That conflict has shredded Somalia into a wreckage of despair, leaving its war-fatigued citizens dangling in brutal hostilities, which started in 1991 after the demise of strongman Siad Barre’s regime.

“It’s time for a new leadership,” said Ali.

“We cannot wait for another 20 years for something to happen,” he said.  “We want to take back our country from corrupt politicians.”

And when that happens, he would pattern the Somali governmental structure after the U.S. federal presidential system.

Ali unveiled a few of his plans.

Baffled that the United States, as big as it is, has only 435 members of the House of Representatives, he questioned why Somalia should have more than that, and said he would dissolve the “550″ member Somali parliament, to make room for a radically smaller chamber with no more than 120 members.

But he would establish a generous salary scale of $5,000 a month for members to “help eliminate corruption.”

What’s more, there would be no more than 25 federal ministers in his government, he said, adding that he would raise the pay of soldiers to $700 a month and that of police officers to $500.

He said he would create a force of “30, 000″ well-trained, well-paid Somali military, which is part of his agenda to “build a strong Somali army” to rid the nation of meddlesome foreign forces, bring security to the country and “stop the senseless bloodshed.”

Ali, though not in agreement with the independent minded Somaliland, said that he “approve of the way they have handled their affairs.”  He said he would initiate a dialogue with them as part of his comprehensive plan to unite Somalia. 

“I will talk to the leaders of the Somaliland,” he said, which will be a striking departure from the approach of the current regime.

Of course, none of this would be easy, and Ali is not oblivious to the potential danger involved in this massive orb, but he said he is not “worried about death” as long as he is convinced he is doing the right thing for his war-torn homeland.

That “right thing,” said Ali, is to rescue his crumbling country from the mean-spirited grip of politicians he characterized as “inhumane, unwise and heartless.”

In an interview last week, the 52-year old Ali told the Call & Post why he decided to embark on this endeavor.

“I came to the conclusion that I can no more be an indifferent spectator of the calamity that has befallen on my beloved country of Somalia,” he said. 

He described the existing political arrangements and behavior of current crop of Somali politicians as “unacceptable.”

In the Diaspora, war-fatigued Somalis residing in the United States and elsewhere are swooning for a leader that will rescue their torn-up homeland from war to make room for peace and stability. 

But they are clinging on to barely a thread of hope that it will happen.

Ali, though frustrated, remains optimistic.

“I am not one of those who gave up hope on Somalia, because I love my people and I love my country,” he said.  “I believe our good days are ahead of us, all we need is to make the right choice this time around.”

In his eyes, Somalia’s current leader Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed is not up to the job of delivering peace and stability to Somalia.

Ali’s candidacy may face a hurdle given that the United States and the international community are reportedly rooting for Somalia’s current regime of Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed to succeed. 

Ali is aware of that, but he is forging ahead believing that, “The U.S. is supporting the wrong leadership in Mogadishu.” 

Currently, Somalia is ungovernable.  The conflict in the impoverished Muslim nation has forced thousands to flee to neighboring countries, the United States and elsewhere.

At the height of the conflict, a stampede of warlords scrimmaging for power littered the scene of a ruptured country carved up into hostile clan-based fiefdoms.

Mgbatogu is a freelance writer and editor of Onumba.com based in Columbus.  He can be reached by email at: Onumbamedia@yahoo.com

Featured , Immigrant Community

Ministry promotes healthy marriages at anniversary clambake

By , December 5, 2010 | 8:24 am | 0 Comment

Ministry promotes healthy marriages at anniversary clambake

ONUMBA.COM – When Rev. Comfort Kalu was planning the third anniversary celebration of the Fountain of Living Water Ministries International, she decided to gear the occasion in part towards an issue that’s hugely dear to her heart:  ‘marriage.’

So she invited an expert all the way from the State of Washington, author Dr. Asopuru Okemgbo, to come and speak on the subject. 

And Okemgbo didn’t disappoint. 

Navigating through some of the biggest pitfalls of marriage, he identified a menu of factors he blame for weakening the pillars of an institution that has come under assault from a barrage of salvos.

It has even come to a cusp where folks don’t even bother to get married anymore.  They bypass it altogether, preferring instead to shack-up.

What’s worse, society, even as it dangles morality as its foundational virtues, doesn’t even frown at that anymore because it has grown into an acceptable vogue.

Apparently, the sense is, why say “I do” when many of the intrinsic bounties of marriage are also available to those who might as well be saying ‘I don’t.’  Single folks in relationships can do everything that married couples do:  live together, have sex, bear children and raise a family, all while reserving the right to walk away from it all without any costly legal brouhaha which is often part of a typical divorce saga.

Obviously, going that route makes the issue of divorce a mute point.

But for those who still say “I do”, divorce has become quite rampant, to say the very least. 

Now, folks scoot to divorce court faster than you can say, “I want out.”  Reportedly, about 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce.

In his lecture, Okemgbo urged his audience to strive to save their marriages.  Basing his remarks nearly entirely on his new book, “Pop the Question, Get Yes, Get Married,” he decried the high divorce rate, telling his listeners that it doesn’t always have to be the route out, because “there’s God’s miraculous intervention” to the rescue.

He made a distinction between “marriage” and “mirage” and explained that “mirage” is an illusion of marriage laden with problems.

“God turns “our mirage into marriage” he said.

God performs that role, because according to Okemgbo, “there’s no school for marriage.”  He said that engineers and doctors go to school to hone their skills to practice their vocation, but “you don’t go to school to qualify to become a ‘husband’ or a ‘wife.’  That’s why marriages fracture and fail, he said.

But he offered this advice:  If your marriage is in trouble, talk to somebody.  And it’s not just anybody, either.  “We need Bible-based counselors,” he said.

He spoke about “agape” and said that it is the only type of love that can sustain marriage.  It’s the kind of love that’s not based on “physical appearance, wealth, social status, fame, kind gestures and emotional feelings,” he said.

Money is always a big issue, he noted.  “Declare your assets,” “share information,” and “be open” to each other.

Communication is the key, he said.  But it works best when conveyed in “sweetened words.” 

“Sex” is important too, but he noted that it must be devoid of “selfish gratification” or deployed for a glib mix of retribution, maliciousness and ‘gotcha’ purposes. 

Mgbatogu is a freelance writer and editor of Onumba.com based in Columbus.  He can be reached by email at: Onumbamedia@yahoo.com

Immigrant Community

Man who slammed son to pavement charged with murder

By , December 5, 2010 | 7:37 am | 0 Comment

Man who slammed son to pavement charged with murder

ONUMBA.COM – It’s the kind of tragedy that’s mind-numbingly hard to imagine. 

How in the world could a father take his rage this far? It certainly hammers home the point that domestic fights between grown folks, which are terrible enough for all involved, should never, ever involve kids. 

Just keep them out of it.

Sadly, it’s an advise that’s too late for little Jayden who was thrown into a ghastly saga that played out in a Columbus family last week.  The 3-month old baby wasn’t just involved in a grown up fight; he perished in it.

And it wasn’t even an accident.

Rather, it was pure rage unleashed on an innocent baby by his father. 

Quindell Sherman was involved in a fight with his girlfriend Sonia Mitchell outside of 1121 E. 16th Ave. in the Linden community on the Northeast side.  It happened on Nov. 16th at about 9:45 p.m. after a melee quickly escalated to the cusp of a fatal tragedy.

“I’m going to take my (expletive) son,” said Sherman, about the child he had with Mitchell.

In the midst of the fracas, he took the child.  But no one knew he was going to do the unthinkable.

After striking both Mitchell and the baby’s great-grandmother Carolynne Holmes, Sherman picked up the child and slammed him to the pavement, multiple times.

The baby’s great-grandmother quickly called 911 to report the incident.

“He threw him on the ground.  He threw him out on the street.  He threw him like he was throwing a piece of trash.  He’s killed hi baby.”

That wasn’t even the end of Sherman’s rampage.

He then scooped up the baby from the floor and scooted off to a nearby trash bin where he dumped the child and hid inside the bin.

By this time, police had arrived.  Officers searched the area and found both Sherman and the battered baby inside the trash bin.

The little boy was rushed to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, where he died at 10:39 p.m.

It was a chilling incident.

“The young man involved in the domestic dispute ended up grabbing the young child and during the course of the dispute, he threw the young child to the ground,” said Columbus police Det. James Day.

A horrified neighbor who witnessed the grisly incident recounted what she saw. 

“When I looked around I saw him grab the baby, probably for the second time, and toss the baby on the pavers over there on the road,” said the neighbor.

“Head first and then dangle the baby with one arm in the air.”

Both Sherman and Mitchell are 20-years old.  They met about a year ago.

The baby’s grandmother kind of saw this coming.

“He was very controlling,” she said, of Sherman, whose address was listed as 1503 Woodspath Lane on the East Side of Columbus. 

On the night of the fight, “he flipped,” said Holmes, who recalled that things boiled over after the baby’s mother told him to leave the house, which he refused, then later insisted that he would leave as long as he took the baby with him.

In the end, he did neither, succeeding only in killing a precious child in a rampage that’s painful for all involved.

Sherman is facing murder charges. 

Mgbatogu is a freelance writer and editor of Onumba.com based in Columbus.  He can be reached by email at: Onumbamedia@yahoo.com

Community , News

Columbus man is seeking to lead warring Somalia

By , December 5, 2010 | 2:29 am | 0 Comment

Columbus man is seeking to lead warring Somalia

ONUMBA.COM – Mahatma Ghandi’s words that we should be the “change we want to see in the world,” is probably no more than just a lofty cliché for a lot of people.

But for one Columbus resident, it has become much more than that. 

It’s also a call to action.

Abdulkadir “Fish” Ali said that it’s time to rescue his war-battered homeland from the mean-spirited grip of politicians he characterized as “inhumane, unwise and heartless.”  These folks, he said, have for years fanned the flame of a vicious conflict that has brought Somalia to its knees. 

Yet, through it all, Ali, like other Somalis, paced the sideline with hands folded as their troubled homeland ravaged in deepening squalor.

But that was then.

In an interview last week, the 52-year old Ali told the Call & Post that he has seen enough.

“I came to the conclusion that I can no more be an indifferent spectator of the calamity that has befallen on my beloved country of Somalia,” said Ali.  That conflict has shredded Somalia into rubbles of despair, leaving its hapless citizens dangling in endless brutal hostilities, which started in 1991 after the collapse of Siad Barre’s government. 

Ali, who was the Chairman of the Somali Chamber of Commerce in Columbus, announced last week that he is a candidate for president of Somalia in the upcoming 2011 election under the mantra:  “2011 New Hope for Somalia.”   

He described the existing political arrangements and behavior of current crop of Somali politicians as “unacceptable.”

Most Somalis would certainly agree with that assessment.  The East African nation is currently ripping itself apart in a conflict that has robbed it of an effective government for nearly 20 years. 

What’s worse, there appears to be no end to the anarchy in sight.

In the Diaspora, war-fatigued Somalis residing in the United States and elsewhere pray for a leader capable of rescuing their torn-up homeland from lawlessness to make room for peace and stability. 

But they are clinging on to very little hope that it would happen.

Ali, though frustrated, remains optimistic.

 ”I am not one of those who gave up hope on Somalia, because I love my people and I love my country,” he said.  “I believe our good days are ahead of us, all we need is to make the right choice this time around.”

That right choice is his candidacy.  “I have a plan,” he said.

The linchpin of that plan is to “restore our statehood and rebuild our country,” he said, promising “to build a strong Somali army” to rid the nation of meddlesome foreign forces. 

Ali vowed to “stop and eliminate the senseless bloodshed.”

“It is very painful,” he said, decrying the mindless destruction playing out in Somalia today.

A major part of the country’s woes, said Ali, is caused by the current Somali leader Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed.  In his eyes, Ahmed is simply not up to the job of delivering peace and stability to the country.

However, Ali wasn’t always against Ahmed. 

When Ahmed visited Columbus in 2009, Ali wholeheartedly supported him.  He even gave an inspiring speech at Ahmed’s welcoming clambake held at Villa Milano where he expressed the view that “he is our best chance to lead Somalia to peace and stability.”

Well, Ahmed is yet to do that, and Ali now doesn’t think he is going to.

“It’s time for a new leadership,” he said, promising to run a government rooted in “honesty, integrity and accountability.”

“We cannot wait for another 20 years for something to happen,” he said.  “We want to take back our country from corrupt politicians.”

Asked why he turned against President Ahmed, Ali replied, “Reality.  The president had enough time to show leadership, but he has not.”

As for why he supported Ahmed before, Ali said it was largely because of his background, alluding to the fact that Ahmed was part of the Islamic Court regime that was generally lauded for ruling Mogadishu “peacefully.”

“We thought he would show leadership,” said Ali.

But Ali’s candidacy may run into a hurdle from the fact that the United States and the international community are reportedly rooting for Somalia’s current regime to succeed.  It remains unclear whether such support will translate into a policy to have Ahmed remain as president. 

Either way, Ali is forging ahead believing that, “The U.S. is supporting the wrong leadership in Mogadishu.”  Despite all that support, the government is still unable to fend off its formidable foe, al-Shabaab, which reportedly has ties to al-Qaeda.

Currently, Somalia is ungovernable.  A mix of sustained hostilities and sporadic flare-ups has engulfed the impoverished Muslim nation, forcing thousands to flee to neighboring countries, the United States and elsewhere.

At the height of Somali conflict, a stampede of warlords scrimmaging for power littered the scene of a ruptured country carved up into hostile clan-based fiefdoms.

Mgbatogu is a freelance writer and editor of Onumba.com based in Columbus.  He can be reached by email at: Onumbamedia@yahoo.com

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