There is no doubt, that Aisha Umar, a female commercial driver in the FCT is a shining example to other women who may be wondering how to make ends meet for their family.
After a failed marriage, she knew she had to take up the challenge of looking after her children singlehandedly. Aisha then converted her car to a mobile shop by showcasing different wears and accessories in her booth for passersby, to buy. Though she was making some money, she figured it was not enough to cater for her two children, a boy and a girl, who she brought back from Algeria after she broke up with their father.
“She returned from Algeria, leaving her husband behind when it was obvious that the marriage would not work. She came back to Abuja with two kids, a boy and a girl”. Then the option of becoming a commercial driver presented itself in an astounding manner.
Aisha had gone to collect money from someone who was owing her but the person failed to keep the promise. Disappointed, she drove back home wondering how to meet the demands of her children. At about that time a middle-aged man who appeared stranded, having waited for a cab for some time, flagged her down. Aisha stopped, almost absent-mindedly.
The man asked if she could take him to Asokoro, she agreed and got N350 for the effort. As soon as the man alighted from her car, another man entered and paid N400 for a journey of about the same distance. That was how it started for Aisha Umar, a single mother of two from Mubi Local Government Area of Adamawa State, who decided, despite her social background to embrace commercial driving a hitherto, exclusive preserve of men so as to fight poverty and give her children hope for a brighter future.
The woman changed her car a year after she started her taxi business, buying a Nissan Sunny to enhance her work.
Five years on, Aisha believes she has made history in the FCT as a pioneer female taxi driver before two women joined the business. She is far better than a woman who sits at home waiting for manna to fall from heaven or one who depends on welfare or charity.
So, rather than lowering her voice to beg for stipends to survive, she shouts loud at commuters to patronise her while she makes at least N5,000 daily.
The venture also took her mind off her failed marriage.
The pioneer female taxi driver advised young girls and women who are jobless to consider any good trade or venture that would make them self reliant. According to her, it is better than engaging in prostitution or other activities that would tarnish their image.
She observed that unemployment is a cankerworm eating up the youths and their future. She therefore called on government, Nongovernmental organisations and wealthy individuals to initiate programmes for skills acquisition to enable women and youths become self-reliant and improve their status.


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