The oil and gas industry in Nigeria has been a male-dominated industry since oil was discovered in Nigeria in 1956. Among the magnates and giants in the industry is this iconic most woman from northern Nigeria who has proven she can survive in a male-dominated environment. It is a cultural norm that the average northern woman is known to be conservative and often too restricted to venture into a complex industry as oil and gas, but Aisha Salisu has been blazing the trail and breaking new grounds in this uncertain path.
In her words “There should be more room and encouragement for women in Nigeria to come and shatter glass ceilings in the oil industry,” perhaps we will indeed see that become a reality as she stands out with impeccable records of achievements.
Aisha Salisu is the CEO of March Energy Limited, an oil and gas company, with core activities in the importation, marketing and distribution of petroleum products across Nigeria. With offices situated in Nigeria’s major cities, Lagos and Abuja, March Energy has gained considerable ground in the industry. The company, according to Aisha Salisu continues to cross every hurdle along the way through its multifaceted structure that serves both the upstream and downstream sectors of the oil and gas industry.
The doggedness of her entrepreneurial spirit was what ushered her into a career in the oil and gas industry. As a bank employee, she maintained a business of selling cars to her colleagues, causing her to catch the attention of her boss who introduced her to the haulage of oil and gas in Kano state, Nigeria. Her resilience also earned her the support of oil magnates in the north, like ADS oil and gas, which she started hauling petroleum products with, pivoting her into the industry.
As Maya Angelou said, ‘’courage is the most important of all the virtues, because, without courage, you cannot practice any other virtue consistently,” courage is evidently a virtue of Aisha Salisu as she works hard daily to achieve her vision which is “to see Match Energy become the best oil and gas company in the country, and to be listed alongside the topnotch oil and gas companies globally.”
Having her capabilities doubted regularly as a woman in a male-dominated industry is one of the challenges that she faces daily, but this has not for a second stopped her as she maintains a professional attitude towards work.
“When I go to work, the last thing on my mind is gender, I work as a human being, and I put in the work as a human being and not just a female,” she said, adding that for more than 10 years, her experience in the oil and gas industry speaks much to the work and effort she has put in to be where she is today.
From a background in political science, she was determined to learn on the job and established strategic alliances for more technical responsibilities that were not in the area of her expertise. It is with that experience she says to Nigerian women, that they can do what they have set out to do.
According to her, “I believe women coming into the industry will help alleviate poverty in our society. You are empowered and capable, put fear aside, be courageous, every woman is fit and able to venture into the oil and gas industry, even northern women who are not visibly seen as being entrepreneurial, most of them are and should be encouraged to do so.”