By Lateef Adams

The recent hike in electricity tariffs imposed by the Tinubu regime, skyrocketing by over 300 percent, is yet another blow to the already burdened Nigerian working people. Employing a familiar tactic of previous fuel price hikes, the government tried to justify its actions by citing purported billions spent on electricity subsidies. However, this reasoning shows in the face of mounting evidence that such subsidies fail to benefit ordinary citizens, as Nigerians have been paying so much for darkness.

This latest move highlights an irritated pattern of disregard for the welfare of the working people. Despite the relentless escalation of living expenses as a result of hikes in fuel prices and rampant inflation, the Tinubu regime appears insensible to the hardships endured by the Nigerian people. 

The recent hike directed by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), increasing electricity tariffs from a maximum of N68 to an exorbitant N225 per kilowatt hour, lacks any justifiable explanation. This means that the Nigerian working people will now need to pay more for a service that remains largely inaccessible.

Regrettably, NERC’s latest ploy introduces a divisive tactic: promoting the categorisation of customers into bands. This ploy is designed to facilitate incremental hikes as consumers are coerced from one band to another; it is a ploy for extending and expanding the cycle of exploitation.

We of the Movement for a Socialist Alternative (MSA) vehemently condemn this deceptive plot arranged by the Tinubu regime to further impoverish the people. The regime’s persistent adherence to neoliberal policies advocated by imperialist agents like the IMF and World Bank represents a significant threat to the livelihoods of the working masses. This resolute commitment highlights the regime’s prioritisation of elite interests at the expense of ordinary Nigerians.

The NERC which ought to function as a regularity body has now show its true colour and function to be an organ of endorsement of the exploitation of the people via tariff hikes. Despite the lack of improvement in the electricity supply, the government never fails to announce a review of tariffs every six months. Recall in 2022, the Chairman of NERC, Mr Sanusi Garba, was quoted saying, It is very clear on our website that every six months we will adjust rates to take care of the foreign exchange component of cost and also inflation (, however, while the agency has not failed to review tariff upward, improving the supply of electricity has been a mirage for many years.

Despite privatisation, Government keeps budgeting Huge sums But no Improvement.

The Power sector, despite privatisation, has continued to receive huge budgetary allocations every year; for instance, in this year’s budget, 2024, the federal government allocated N344 billion to the power sector, which is an increase of 43.9 per cent when compared with the previous year (which is N239 billion). Notwithstanding, the country has witnessed poor or no power supply for the majority of areas in 2024. With the current state of power, there is hardly any community that can boast of regular around the clock electricity supply. The Band A proposal of 20 hours supply as propagated by the Tinubu regime, is nothing new, it is nothing but a another version of shade loading. This time to guinea-pig of some few neigbourhood by supplying them 20 hours of electricity as basis to justify this unwarranted increase.

Continuous National Grid Collapse amid Tariff Hike

The collapse of the national grid has become the story on a monthly basis. One wonders how the power grid keeps collapsing despite the huge budget allocation to this sector and the exorbitant crazy bills the people pay on a monthly basis.

The collapse of the national grid is a situation where the power transmission system experiences a failure, leading to power outages across the country. This situation occurs mainly due to factors such as equipment failure. Moreover, the continuous collapse of the national grid reflects broader systemic failures of capitalism propagated by the government, which include corruption, mismanagement, and a lack of accountability. The recurring nature of these grid failures underscores the government’s neoliberal policies and its inability to learn from past mistakes and implement effective measures to prevent future disruptions.

Within just eleven months of the Tinubu regime, the national grid has collapsed nine times, as reported by The latest grid collapse on April 15, 2024, marks the fifth occurrence for the year 2024 alone. According to the National Supply Data, power supply plummeted from 4020 megawatts to less than 50 megawatts during this recent collapse in April.

Despite these significant disruptions in the power supply, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) was still confident in misleading Nigerians by claiming that certain areas receive up to 20 hours of power supply per day. It is mindboggling that despite several years of budgetary allocations to power, the ruling elites have been unable to fix or upgrade the facilities in the generation and transmitting section. Since the Goodluck Jonathan regime handed over the power sector to private individuals in 2013, neither has the electricity supply improved nor has generation increased.

According to a document cited by on electricity generation pre and post-privatisation, the average power generation in 2013 was 3,183 megawatts. The so call supply growth as celebrated continues to be inconsequential the Distribution companies (DisCo) are yet unable to distribute more than 4500 megawatts. This situation has continued to plunge the country into continuous darkness, with many communities on roasters of load shedding.

The poorly improved megawatts of electricity generation is not a thing to celebrate, as the figure of 8000 megawatts is a mere number that does not translate into any meaningful progress. In an interview with the Vanguard newspaper, the former Chairman of NERC, Dr Sam Amadi, noted “I think we should stop deceiving ourselves that we are witnessing any serious improvement. No, we are not. The system is still as fragile as it was in 2013″.

Time to Fight for the Re-nationalisation of the Power sector to end Exploitation of the Working Masses

The government’s poor handling of the power sector for the interest of the few ruling elites depreciates existing socio-economic challenges, as businesses suffer from interrupted operations, households endure prolonged periods without electricity, and essential services such as healthcare and education are severely impacted. The reliance on fossil fuel-based energy sources perpetuates environmental degradation and worsens climate change, emphasising the government’s failure to prioritise sustainable and renewable energy solutions.

There is a need to commence national action for the nationalisation of the industry now. The challenge behind the power sector, just like every other major sector of the economy, is the neoliberal agenda of government. Anti-people policies such as privatisation of the sector, which seek to hand over electricity to private profiteers at the expense of the people, make the exploitation of the people viable. So, to end this practice, the people must call for the nationalisation of the power sector and place it under democratic management and control of the working people. 

The Movement for A Socialist Alternative (MSA) has consistently called on Nigerian workers’ students, the unemployed, artisans, traders and farmers to unite in struggle and fight against the continuous tariff exploitation of the masses in electricity or any other form. This cannot be in isolation from the trade unions. The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) must declare a National Day of Action to protest against the exploitation and profit-inclined system. 

In our previous edition, we emphasised the urgent need for the trade unions (NLC and the TUC) to not only form a genuine political alternative but also to reclaim the Labour Party, aligning it with the interests of the working masses. The objective is to wrest power from the current ruling elites and institute a socialist framework wherein the economy is centrally planned. This restructured economic system would prioritise the equitable distribution of resources to ensure the provision of essential social amenities free from profit motives, thereby advancing the welfare of all members of society.