Nigeria’s Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke scored another first with her election as the first female President of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, at their just concluded meeting in Vienna, Austria.

Prior to her election, she was the alternate President of OPEC, the first woman to hold such position in the oil cartel.

Before now, Alison-Madueke has had other firsts in her rise to the top. She was also the first female Minister of Transportation, and the first woman to be appointed to the board of Shell Petroleum Development Company Nigeria. On working in male-dominated sectors, Alison-Madueke said she warned the young women she mentored while at Shell to “change their mode of thinking.”

Diezani Alison-Madueke CON was born on 6th December, 1960, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, to the royal family of late Frederick Abiye and Mrs Beatrice Agama from Bayelsa State Nigeria. She completed her early education in Nigeria and then proceeded to the United Kingdom and the United States where she studied Architecture at Howard University. She began her working career at Charles Szoradi Architects, moving through jobs in construction and facilities management.

Diezani Alison-Madueke

In 1992, she joined Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) in Nigeria as the Head of the Project Unit of the Estate Development Division in Lagos. She later moved to the External Affairs Directorate as Head of the newly instituted Corporate Issues Identification and Management Department.

In 2002, she was awarded the prestigious British Foreign and Commonwealth Chevening Scholarship and proceeded to The Judge Business Institute, Cambridge University UK, where she obtained an MBA in 2003.

In 2006, she was appointed the first female director to the board of Shell Petroleum Development Company Nigeria Limited, as External Affairs Director, making her the first female to be so appointed in 70 years of Shell Petroleum Development Company’s business practice in Nigeria.

She has held three significant Federal cabinet positions in the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria since 2007: Namely, Minister of Transportation in 2007-2008; Minister of Mines and Steel Development in 2008- 2010; and was appointed Nigeria’s first female Minister for Petroleum Resources from 2010 until present.

She is the first and only woman to lead a country’s delegation to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) conference in Vienna, Austria, in 2010. She was also the first woman to be awarded an Honourary Doctorate Degree in Management Sciences by the nation’s premier defence college, the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, on 17 September, 2011.


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