Vitalis Lanshima, a House of Representatives aspirant, is under fire in the United States for holding on to office as a member of the Louisville City Council despite running for office in Nigeria.
Lanshima, who is originally from Plateau State, is currently a City Council member in Louisville, Kentucky and also in the running to represent Jos North/Bassa federal constituency at the House of Representatives on the platform of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).
According to Fox News, Lanshima is being asked to resign his position as Council member by many local lawmakers who are concerned and want an investigation into whether Lanshima registering to vote and running for office in Nigeria could be a violation of Kentucky laws.
But Lanshima reportedly lashed out against his colleagues and critics, whom he called “sore losers or sore winners,” and claimed the criticism surrounding him was a “manufactured crisis.”
“Please stop being obsessed with me,” Lanshima reportedly said.
“There are many things for us to worry about in Louisville. … We do not have to be obsessed with me,” Lanshima told reporters during a news conference, the Courier-Journal reported. “Please stop being obsessed with me.”
A fellow Council member, Councilwoman, Cindi Fowler said Lanshima’s behavior raises questions on whether his constituents are being represented on the council, especially since Lanshima skipped 20 council meetings since mid-June.
According to the Kentucky state laws, members of local government councils must be a “a qualified voter, and a resident within the territory of the consolidated local government and the district that he or she seeks to represent for at least one (1) year immediately prior to the person’s election.” The council members are also asked to live in his district “throughout the term of office.”
Democratic spokesman Tony Hyatt told the Courier-Journal on Tuesday that Lanshima hasn’t attended a meeting since Aug. 14.
“I want him to be present and engaged within the community that he’s representing,” Fowler told the newspaper in response to Lanshima’s claims that he’s being targeted. “I’m not pointing my finger, so much as I’m saying, ‘Do the right thing.’ That’s all.”
But despite missing meetings and running for office in Nigeria, Lanshima continues to earn a salary. So far he has earned nearly $40,000 this year, Fox News reported.
The embattled councilman was selected rather than elected to represent the district after a previous councilman was ousted from his seat amid sexual misconduct allegations.