Aisha Abubakar from Tambuwal Local Government Area of Sokoto State was born into the family of the renowned Nigerian and elder statesman Alhaji Abubakar Alhaji and the royal family of the Sokoto caliphate, on the 20th of July, 1966.
In 1978, she was admitted on national merit to the prestigious Queen’s College, Yaba Lagos to start her secondary education, and in 1982 she went to the United Kingdom to complete her secondary education and study for her A levels at St. Mary’s hall Brighton.
She later obtained her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Politics and International Studies from University of Warwick in 1990 and completed her Master’s Degree in Development Studies at the University of Leeds, in 1991.
At this point, she came to the realization that it was imperative for her to begin to think about giving back to her community back home in Sokoto state. She was keen on helping people and the Masters in Development Studies shaped her thoughts.
She was also the managing director/CEO, Abuja Enterprise Agency, between February 2014 and June 2015. She was also the acting managing director/CEO of the agency between February, 2013 and August 2014, after she had served as the executive director, finance and administration.
Within the time under review, she spearheaded the aligning off the agency’s processes and programmes to be in line with global best practices. Before then, she was the principal manager II at the African International Bank (1998 – 1999); senior bilateral cooperation officer, African Development Bank, Abidjan, Ivory Coast (1993 – 1997), where she promoted, negotiated and administered cooperation agreements between the bank and external donors among others.
With regard to her qualifications, the Sokoto born Aisha has over 20 years of experience in banking and investment, rural enterprise development and microcredit administration, international development, policy analysis and business support. She specializes in micro, small and medium enterprise development, Islamic finance and microcredit administration, women development and family livelihood enhancement as well as public policy and administration. She was also the Director, Corporate Services Department of the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate before her name was announced by the Senate, after the second list of ministerial nominees was sent by President Buhari.
Aisha’s commitment to excellence and dedicated focus saw AEA through to receive the Global Citizen Movement Award for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in leadership in 2013 in New York City, USA. Under her watch AEA, secured over N2billion naira that was disbursed to SME’s in the FCT with an 80% recovery rate.
Aisha also fought hard to see the establishment of the first Microfinance Bank owned by the FCDA and located in Kwali area council, which today is a big blessing to business owners in that area. After over 10 years in AEA, she moved into the Pension Industry as a pioneer Director of the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) seeing to the welfare of pensioners under the Customs, Immigration and Prisons department.
She had only been in PTAD for a few months, when His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari appointed her as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in November 2015.
Today, Aisha Abubakar serves her country as the Honorable Minister of State for the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment. As the Minister of State, she has started working on the industrialization of the nation, with her team looking at diversification of our nation’s economy. She believes that SMEs development, revitalization of industrial parks and clusters as well as providing an enabling environment are some of the ways the administration will deliver on her mandate to Nigerians.
According to Aisha Abubakar, “Nigeria is open for business and we are committed to accelerating our growth, removing barriers to business and ensuring that we get back into the path of national prosperity. The organized private sector and all groups are now called upon to respond and do their bit in turning around our economy”.
In 2016, YES INTERNATIONAL! Magazine, reported that because of her ‘smelling pedigree’, people don’t enjoy being around her or sitting very close to her during meetings.
“The ones who bear the brunt daily are her domestic staff – and that is because they can’t help it. So, they tend to suffer in silence and grumble only when they are among themselves…”
Unknown to the woman, the talk is spreading so very fast even among her colleagues – notwithstanding that none of them has been bold enough to bell the cat by bringing this hygiene anomaly to her notice.