The sobriquet of Small Alhaji, is undoubtedly a very popular one and it means different things to different people. Although the man with the appellation was named Tajudeen Adeyemi Adefisoye ; but he is widely and better known everywhere he goes as Small Alhaji.
To some people, Small Alhaji is a politician while others see him as a philanthropist. Several others know him to be shrewd businessman, just as some other group of persons see him as a trail blazing democrat. Interestingly, he was and still known amongst members of the 9th National Assembly as the poster boy of the House of Representatives.
Adefisoye is evidently a man of many parts as he had set new records, carved niche for himself and also impacted several lives in his almost 39-years of existence. It is no longer news that Small Alhaji, against all odds won election at the age of 34, on the platform of a relatively unknown Social Democratic Party (SDP) to represent Idanre/Ifedore federal constituency of Ondo State in the 9th National Assembly.
This young man also set another record by becoming the Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Army; even when it was least expected. He undoubtedly performed excellently well in this position, just as he equally set new records of unprecedented achievements in his federal constituency. It could be confidently concluded that Adefisoye actually outperformed all his predecessors put together from 1999 to 2019. Beyond every trace of doubt, Small Alhaji offered quality representation and he also did extremely well to impact his constituents through innovative welfare packages and infrastructural projects.
Small Alhaji came up with the novel idea of quarterly ‘Market Monie program for market women in his federal constituency. The empowerment program produced several thousands of beneficiaries that received financial grants from the politician. He also reached out to the aged, youths and artisans while representing the good people of Idanre/Ifedore. Hundreds of youths and artisans in his federal constituency were trained in different trades and were equally empowered with start-up capitals in addition to necessary equipments.
Interestingly, the youthful politician built one state of the art 5-Aside stadium each, in Idanre and Ijare in Ifedore Local Government Area. He followed this with the construction of ICT Centre in Idanre and Skills Acquisition Centre in Ifedore Local Area. He went a step further by constructing several kilometers of urban and rural roads in both Idanre and Ifedore. Likewise, he launched Operation Keep The Tap Running, under which non-functioning boreholes were repaired while new solar powered ones were also sunk for the people.
In a manner that was unprecedented, the immediate past federal legislator distributed free JAMB forms to admission seekers and also awarded scholarships to thousands of primary and secondary school students in his federal constituency. He went a step further by giving bursary to hundreds of undergraduates that were selected across his federal constituency.
In spite of the outstanding achievements of Small Alhaji, the grassroots mobilizer was unsuccessful in his bid to return to the Federal House of Representatives for another term. Although, the failed reelection bid of Adefisoye could be safely linked to his rapidly rising political profile, which some politicians in Idanre became uncomfortable with. Of a fact, the same set of leaders would readily bear witness to the outstanding performance of Small Alhaji as a member of the 9th National Assembly. It was quite puzzling that most of the leader that conspired against Small Alhaji were major beneficiaries of his car and financial empowerment programmes.
Small Alhaji is nonetheless a very blunt and straightforward politician.
Unlike the average Nigerian politician, he proven himself to be of good sportsman spirit and this much was demonstrated when Adefisoye congratulated his opponent after the unfavourable outcome of his reelection bid. He turned down advice given to him to challenge the election results in court. He thereafter went ahead to wish his victorious opponent well and also encouraged the PDP candidate to boldly make own contributions to the development of Idanre/Ifedore federal constituency.
Meanwhile, one side of Adefisoye that is largely unknown to many people is that fact of untiring love for humanity which flows in his veins. This no wonder, informed his philanthropic disposition. The man is a an unrepentant giver as he truly finds joy and fulfilment in helping the less privileged persons. Little wonder he has continue to extend helping hands to the aged, widow, orphans and indigent, but academically gifted students. Small Alhaji has evidently done so much in the area of philanthropy and he is not prepared to slow down any time soon.
Unknown to many people, Adefisoye is naturally a shy person. He tries to conceal this side of his by wearing sunshades. He also struggles to hide this fact through his preference for chatting with people on phone as against the regular calls. The shy nature likewise manifests in his body language of always avoiding verbal confrontation with people. Small Alhaji also extends this to not always wanting to offend anyone. Unfortunately, the reserved lifestyle of Adefisoye seems to have been misconceived for arrogance and pride by those around him. Funnily, people that have never met him before also join others to label Small Alhaji an arrogant person.
Stating the obvious, Adefisoye is far from being a proud or arrogant person. The man truly carries himself with the air of immense comfort because he was born into a wealthy family and was practically raised with a silver spoon. He also had the best of education and the very best of every other things that money could buy. God in His infinite mercy has also blessed him with immense wealth, even at a very young age. The totality of these were what informed his air of comfort that people have erroneously mistaken for a pride. Of a truth, nobody can in good conscience accuse Small Alhaji of being a snob or not relating very freely with the less privileged and even those regarded as street urchins.
Beyond the facade of being a politician and lover of good things, Small Alhaji possesses an aura of affectionate attraction. This manifests in the genuine love showered on him by the old and young as well as the poor and the rich. Interestingly, most people that attack him on the social media cunningly deploy this as a strategy so as to have close relationship with Small Alhaji. More so, he is no doubt a highly charismatic individual and this readily reveals in his acknowledged leadership qualities. Even at his relatively youthful age, he has done extremely well by serving as an accessible link between the generations of old and young in his federal constituency. He has also clearly done so well by carrying everyone along, thereby giving sense of belongings to everybody; while he represented the people of Idanre/Ifedore federal constituency of Ondo State.
Other identified great qualities of Small Alhaji worth stating here are his strength of courage and visionary ability. He is likewise an incurable optimist that often see possibilities where other pessimists could only see impossibilities. Adefisoye has manifested his strength of vision in the novel projects he successfully executed for his constituents in just four years of serving as a federal lawmaker.
As the Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Army, the Army leadership would remain thankful to Small Alhaji for his visionary
Input that eventually manifested in improved performance and welfare of soldiers in theatre commands as well as those that are engaged in other security operations. The same power of vision has also propelled Adefisoye to have established a 5-Star, City Centre Hotel in Akure. A visit to this world class hospitality facility will definitely convince any doubting Thomas of the depth of visionary strength that is embedded in the Idanre born politician.
To Hon. Tajudeen Adefisoye, powers of vision and possibilities are the minimum requirements from any leader that intends to make lasting impacts on the scene of leadership. He is certain to make a bigger and better come back to the political scene of Ondo State.
Adefisoye is very conscious of the reality that the sobriquet of Small Alhaji has become an important political brand in Ondo State and Nigeria as a whole. This consciousness must have informed his decision to contest the gubernatorial election of Ondo State in 2024 and he appears serious to get this ambition actualized. He is therefore, doing the needful to preserve and continually make the brand of Small Alhaji productively relevant.