Louisville Metro Councilman Vitalis Lanshima, D-21, told Insider Louisville on Monday that he is considering a run for the House of Representatives in Nigeria, after being asked about his website and Facebook page identifying himself as a candidate for that office next year.
Lanshima was born in Nigeria and immigrated to the United States to attend Bellarmine University in 2000, which he graduated from. He was appointed in December to replace Councilman Dan Johnson in District 21 after he was removed from office, but lost the Democratic primary for that seat in May to challenger Nicole George.
Both the campaign website and Facebook page clearly state that Lanshima is running for the House in Nigeria as a member of the All Progressives Congress, the party that controls the majority of that chamber. The detailed website has a long explanation for why Lanshima is running for the office, as well as pages that cover issues related to the country.
Lanshima’s legislative aide and the spokesman for the Democratic caucus of the council both told Insider that they were unaware of him running for office in Nigeria, though Tony Hyatt said that Lanshima spent several weeks this summer in Nigeria after he lost his primary.
But when asked to confirm that he was running for office in Nigeria, Lanshima first replied: “Nigeria?”
Lanshima later stated that he was not hacked, but suggested that other people created the website and Facebook page, which his own personal Facebook page shows that he is the manager of.
“Obviously (some) people in Nigeria believe I have something to offer in next years election,” wrote Lanshima in a Facebook message to Insider. “It is a page created to advocate for me to run. I was in Nigeria visiting in July.”
Asked for clarity on whether or not he is running for office in Nigeria, Lanshima said he is “seriously considering it,” but would not answer questions asking if he planned to spend any of the remaining months this year campaigning in the country.
Lanshima will remain the District 21 councilman until December, when the winner of the election for that seat in November is sworn in. Democrat Nicole George and Republican Bret Shultz are running in that race.