Browsing Month January, 2011

Mills, Klein are new members of Columbus city council

By , January 30, 2011 | 5:47 pm | 0 Comment

Mills, Klein are new members of Columbus city council

ONUMBA.COM – The new look of the Columbus City Council finally emerged last week after Michelle M. Mills and Zachary M. Klein were sworn in as new members. 

Both were sworn in at the City Council Chambers on Thursday at 4:30 p.m.

Mills replaced Charleta Tavares who is now a state senator while Klein was appointed to the seat previously held by Michael Mentel, who recently resigned as council president to focus on his law practice and spend more time with his family.

The new council President Andrew Ginther expressed confidence in his new colleagues.

“I am certain that council members Mills and Klein will serve with distinction as we work to create an even better community to live and raise our families,” he said.

After they were sworn in, both spoke to the Onumba.com about their momentous day and one issue of concern they would like to focus on.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the city of Columbus,” said Klein, who has a law degree from Capital University School of Law.

“I look forward to working with the council, Mayor Coleman, the city attorney to make Columbus a better place to live,” he said.

Klein said his main priority will be “economic development.”  He said that he plans to work with the “business community to ensure that there are jobs for all the residents of the city of Columbus.”

He said he would work to give existing Columbus businesses the resources to grow and succeed while working with the council to craft initiatives for attracting new businesses to the city.

Mills , who has a Master of Science degree in social administration from Cleveland State University, hopes her appointment to the council inspires young girls in Columbus to achieve their dreams. 

“It demonstrates to other young girls that they can dream and succeed.  That they can change the world,” she said.

When asked about one thing she would like to focus on as Columbus  city council member, she replied, “Its people.”

“We must make sure we don’t neglect the people,” she said, calling them “our biggest assets.”

Mills and Klein were appointed out of a crowded field of 49 applicants that applied for the two vacancies. 

Both Mills and Klein are Columbus residents. 

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

Featured , News

Pony up Halliburton: Oil giant to pay Nigeria $35 million to settle bribery case

By , January 23, 2011 | 7:08 am | 0 Comment

Pony up Halliburton:  Oil giant to pay Nigeria $35 million to settle bribery case

ONUMBA.COM – When Nigeria filed a lawsuit on December 7 against former U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney and oil company Halliburton, some probably dismissed the move as an ostentatious pursuit of the impossible.

Well – it wasn’t.    

Rather, it was pay-up time. 

Halliburton has agreed to pay the West African nation the sum of $35 million to settle a bribery scandal which Nigerian officials said occurred when Cheney was the Chief Executive Officer of Halliburton.

Cheney, 69, and ailing, was with the company before being elected vice-president of the United States under President George W. Bush in 2000.

Nigeria accepted the deal even though a settlement of $250 million was sought.

By accepting the deal, Nigeria agreed to rescind the lawsuit and all charges filed against Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR) and all entities and persons named in the case. 

This saga escalated after Nigeria’s anti graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, deepened its investigation of Halliburton activities in the country, probing Cheney’s role in the bribery scandal.       

Cheney, arguably the most powerful vice-president in the history of the United States, was the leader of Halliburton when a suspicious gas plant popped up in the Delta region of Southern Nigeria, prompting questions by Nigerian officials over whether Cheney and other Halliburton officials paid Nigerian government officials $180 million in “cash for contract” bribery to secure $6 billion contracts for the construction of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant.

Nigeria’s lawsuit probably piggy-backed on a pair of investigations in the U.S where federal agencies brought similar charges against Halliburton which later negotiated a combined settlement of $579 million.

Nigeria is one of the world’s major oil producers, but because of massive level of corruption and mismanagement, the country is ravaging deep in squalor, its citizens toiling in apocalyptic despair and bone-crushing poverty. 

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

Commentary , Featured , Immigrant Community , Uncategorized

Ray Miller retires: praises rained on him for decades of service

By , January 23, 2011 | 6:36 am | 0 Comment

Ray Miller retires:  praises rained on him for decades of service

ONUMBA.COM – One of the most productive legislators in the history of Ohio Ray Miller retired January 13, 2011. 

A throng of people braved the frigid weather that day to come and be a part of an event organized to pay tribute to him after decades of public service.

The event was held at the Lincoln Theatre in the King Lincoln District on the eastside of Columbus near the neighborhood where Miller grew up. 

“We salute his brilliance and his boldness,” said Bishop Timothy Clark, Senior Pastor of the First Church of God.

In attendance were government, religious and community dignitaries including Rev. Leon L. Troy, Pastor Emeritus of the Second Baptist Church; Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman; State Senator Charleta Tavares; State Representative Sandra Williams; Columbus City Council Member Hearcel Craig; Ako Kambon, President of the Visionary Leaders Institute; Cheryl Boyce, former Director of the Ohio Commission on Minority Health and others.

Miller represented the 15th senatorial district in the Ohio Senate. 

State Senator Charleta Tavares spoke at the event.

“I refuse to say he is retiring, because it is antithesis of who he is,” said Tavares, a longtime friend and colleague of Miller who replaced him in the Ohio Senate.

Miller, described by Coleman as the “Father of Head-Start Funding,” is not departing the public arena, though. 

So what’s next for Miller? 

“What I have always done,” he said, in his speech.  “I do indeed have miles to go before I sleep.” 

Miller said that he will be working on several initiatives tackling such issues as “health disparity, family stability, history of African-Americans, and others.” 

He is planning to host a conference on ‘family stability’ on April 8 and 9.

Coleman characterized the retirement event as “a terrific tribute” for a man he said “changed this community.” 

Indeed, Miller accomplished a lot as a legislator. 

The legislations he authored established the Ohio Commission on Minority Health, the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services and Head Start Funding.

Working with Dr. William E. Nelson, Jr., Dr. James Upton, Dr. Judson L. Jefferies, all of The Ohio State University Department of African American and African Studies (AAAS), and Carla Wilks of the AAAS Community Extension Center, Miller founded The Ray Miller Institute for Change and Leadership in 2006. 

He is also the founder and President of the Center for Urban Progress.

Miller’s legislations gave birth to several initiatives, including the First Ohio African American Hall of Fame, Institute for Urban Change at Central State University; Passage of Health Data Reporting, and with State Senator David Hobson, sponsored the Mental Health Act of 1988.

Miller, a ferocious Democrat, lashed out at Kasich for assembling a cabinet devoid of inclusion, a hint that he will remain involved in debates over public policies.  Retirement doesn’t mean he quit his passion for public service.

Miller, a graduate of East High School, graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a Master of Arts degree in Public Administration.

Miller, who is married to Marlene, has held numerous appointments, including serving as the White House Deputy Special Assistant to President Jimmy Carter, Assistant Director of Legislation for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and Vice-President of Minority Affairs for Columbus State Community College.

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

Featured , State of Ohio

Seven ways you can tell that an African immigrant has been in the U.S. for too long?

By , January 19, 2011 | 2:36 am | 1 Comments

ONUMBA.COM – It’s OK after sojourning in a foreign land to morph some, but a complete whitewash, an overhaul is something else.  To each his own, though. 

Here are seven signs that an African immigrant has been in the U.S. for too long.

  • Can’t say his name right anymore

He no longer is able to say his name the proper way – the way he said it when he came here.  He now pronounces his name the way Americans would say it, therefore becoming a willing participant in the corruption of his African name.

  • Frowns at African food

He doesn’t eat African food because he thinks it smells.

  • English only rule

He is doggedly determined, even as he proclaims love for the culture and language from the rooftop, to keep his children from learning how to speak his African tongue.

  • Whuzzup and all that comes with it

He still has his thick African accent, but his incessant quest to swap that with an American drawl leaves him sounding like a rambling oaf unable to communicate effectively and intelligibly. 

  • I’m no hood rat

He is now a blended creature who ostracizes himself from the African immigrant community, but ventures out every now and then to escape boredom in his new distant suburbia community.

  • Pasta, not fufu

If somehow he ends up in an African restaurant, he would want to order a plate of ‘lasagna’ with meatballs on it, somehow forgetting that what’s available is ‘kenke’ or ‘fufu’ with African soup to go with it.    

  • What’s in a name?

His authentic African name has been doctored up to read and sound more like an American name.

I said ‘he’, but these apply to women too.

Blog

Fraudulent Nigerian physician sentenced to prison

By , January 19, 2011 | 2:06 am | 1 Comments

Fraudulent Nigerian physician sentenced to prison

ONUMBA.COM – Dr. Charles C. Njoku, 61, the Nigerian-born physician who pleaded guilty to charges of committing medical fraud and having his office assistant, Veronica Scott-Guiler, practice medicine, will spend a year and a day in federal prison for his shenanigans.

That was the sentence handed down last week by the U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley. 

Njoku, who owned The People’s Family Medical Center, with offices in two locations, Akron and Columbus, including one at 1279 E. Dublin-Granville Road, could have received 30 years in prison plus a fine of $1.5 million.

His package of punishment includes three years probation, including one year of house confinement, and 416 hours of community service. 

What’s more, he and Scott-Guiler will reimburse the government the $131,995 paid to People’s Family Medical Center as a result of these fraudulent billings.

Prosecutors had pressed for a three year sentence for Njoku.  But his attorney Walter Madison argued otherwise, contending that his client should have been spared of any prison time, noting Njoku’s “exceptional life.”

Indeed, Njoku has had that kind of life.

But it all came to an abrupt end after his arrest in January, setting off a saga that belied the storied career of a man whose impressive resume helped him build a thriving medical practice after earning his medical degree at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn., in 1979. 

In 1983, Njoku was licensed to practice medicine in Ohio.

In his practice, he allowed Scott-Guiler from Orient – who is not a physician – to see patients in his absence.  Needless to say, it was an ill-advised decision that spiraled into a slippery slope to his eventual doom.

He pleaded guilty on Sept. 28 to health care fraud involving numerous instances where he billed government health care programs for Medicaid and Medicare visits and services that were never provided to patients.

In some instances, some of the services were provided, but not by him.

Rather, they were provided by his 42-year old assistant filling in for him as the physician tasked to perform such duties as prescribing medications to patients, including controlled narcotics – using pre-signed pads.

Njoku, whose former address was Valley Run Place in Powell, billed the government for these services as though they were provided by a physician.

Similarly, he submitted bills for patient visits that took place while he was out of the country, essentially falsely claiming that he provided care to these patients when in fact they were seen by his assistant.

Njoku’s wave of fraudulent indulgencies occurred from 2005 to 2009 and involved a pattern of falsified billing for services that were not provided, tests that were not necessary and patients that he did not see.

Meanwhile, Scott-Guiler also pleaded guilty for her role in all of this on Aug. 13.  However, she received a lenient punishment of three years probation because according to Marbley, she was a “gullible” woman who was used by Njoku.

Her punishment includes one year of house confinement and 104 hours of community services. 

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 , News

Onumba Communications receives community award

By , January 7, 2011 | 1:45 am | 0 Comment

Onumba Communications receives community award

ONUMBA.COM – TAWI Family Village, a Columbus group ferociously committed to promoting a way of life, education and cultural consciousness rooted deep in African ethos, organized an event to observe the ‘First Night of Kwanzaa.’ 

It was held at the Columbus Africentric School on Livingston Avenue on December 26, 2010 at 6:00 p.m.  An enthusiastic crowd of community leaders, activists, parents and students attended the family clambake.

It was jam-packed with activities, bunting with all kinds of cultural expressions, drumming, poems, storytelling, student performances, singing of the Black National Anthem, and community updates.

One of the highlights of the gathering was the presentation of awards to eight community organizations that “have practiced Ujima – Collective Work and Responsibility” in Columbus.

Onumba Communications, publisher of Onumba.com, is proud and humbled to be a recipient of the Ujima community award. 

The staff and management of Onumba Media Group (OMG) would like to thank TAWI Family Village for the award, and most importantly, for the commitment it has shown over the years building a Columbus community and Black families rooted in Africentric culture, consciousness, respect and responsibility.

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

Featured