Public Statement

The collapse of the national power grid i.e. an interconnected network for delivering electricity for the fifth time in 4 months; confirms that the capitalist elites in government have no plans to improve the power sector in the country. This is Thirteen years since the privatisation of the power sector. However, not a megawatts is added since the private sectors took over. Fundamentally, what we have is complete exploitation of the electricity consumers and a supply of darkness. People are forced to pay unjustifiable tariffs despite the conditional distribution and installation of prepaid metres.

Information has it that Nigeria Electricity System Operator crashed from 3,703 megawatts to 9 megawatts. This crash of the power grid has become so incessant that in March and April this year; the national grid collapsed four times i.e. twice in March and April respectively. This crash in electricity, on the day ruling elites, are celebrating “democracy day”, left total darkness in the country causing huge economic challenges to the ordinary working masses and leaving petty businesses that rely on electricity; suffering during this period of economic hardship.

The Movement for A Socialist Alternative (MSA) condemned this incessant crash in the power grid. We blame the President Buhari-led federal government for its unproductive management of the power sector. It will be difficult to point out any part of the country that enjoys 18 hours of electricity uninterrupted. This is despite the government’s claims to have spent billions of naira to improve the electricity sector. After the grid collapse in March, the FG through the Minister of Power, Engr. Abubakar Aliyu expressed a false optimism to Nigerians that $4 billion are invested to boost power transmission capacity (vanguard newspaper March 28, 2022).

The Minister said that the FG had spent more than N125 billion between 2015 to 2021 for the utilization of energy generation on the national grid. The budgeting and spending in the energy sector have been enmeshed in gross mismanagement and corruption rooted in capitalism. This is despite huge expenses invested, however, the country is still in darkness. The recent collapse on June 12, 2022, is an indication that the current Buhari regime has further plunged the country into a serious energy crisis thereby crippling many business activities, especially petty traders relying on electricity to run their businesses.

Huge Investment in the Energy Sector with Mirage Expectation on power improvement

It is no doubt that a huge amount of resources has been expended on the power sector by this administration with nothing to show for it. Funding in the sector is not only by the FG but also by the imperialist agents, who also have contributed to the underdevelopment in the sector via the loans. The Minister also emphasized the Development Finance Funding through the World Bank, the African Development Bank (AfDB), French Development Agency (FDA), Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and others have committed up to $1.7 billion for “better utilization of energy generation”.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is also injecting $250 million for the funding the rehabilitation of transmission and distribution to “increase power delivery”. Another huge fund to the transmission grid is the Siemens Presidential Power Initiative (PPI) which will see about $2 billion invested. The result of all these huge investments in the electricity sector is total darkness across the country. For several years, the sector has not been able to generate above 5000 megawatts despite all the huge investments made in this sector.

Over the years the ruling elites campaigning for political power always capitalize on the poor state of the electricity supply to make fake promises to improve it. In preparation for the 2003 election, former President Obasanjo promised to increase power generation to 80,000 megawatts if re-elected to power. His government was later claimed to have spent $16 billion on a power project with absolutely nothing to show for it.

The Buhari government that threatened to probe the failed project lack the political will to carry out its threats. The Goodluck Jonathan administration despite enormous spending went ahead to privatize the sector in November 2013. Yet the sector has remained worse than it was before the privatization. Privatization has only made it possible for the capitalist cronies in the name of investing to continue to drill the working masses with exploitative tariffs that are ridiculous and unjustifiable.

Persistent Tariff Increments with Epileptic Power Supply  

With the poor state of electricity supply, the hike in the cost of electricity has become persistent. The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has continued to direct the electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) to hike tariffs despite poor supply. A few weeks ago, the NERC confirmed an electricity tariff hike in ten DisCos with an increase of about 10 per cent. The call for the increment came just a few weeks after the total darkness the country experienced in March and April respectively.

Before the 2013 privatization exercise, the government and some pro-privatization analysts have argued that selling the sector will bring about lower tariffs and efficient supply. Since then, Nigerians have continued to pay for darkness repeatedly despite the boost of distributing and installing prepaid metres that are conditional. Almost every year, the Discos in alliance with NERC have not relented in tariff increments. This is to guarantee them huge profits and continue the abysmal supply of darkness and load-shedding to millions of households.

In 2013, the Federal Government has approved N1.6 trillion in intervention funding. According to calculations carried out by the BusinessDay newspaper, this amount (N1.6 trillion) as said is over three times what the FG earned by selling the assets (N471 billion). The capitalist ruling elites are quick to use government resources to bail out the private sectors, where they have a stake or interest. In 2021, the same feature also occurred in aviation — bailout!

The same bailout was given to the banking sector some years ago. But when is the turn of other vital sectors like education, health, housing, and agriculture, the philosophy we hear is there is no money available. Sometimes, it will be the oil price has dropped. The problems in the power sector are not only the mismanagement by the ruling elites but the system of capitalism.

This is because profit is the first agenda than development under capitalism. But in socialism, it will be different. Massive investment in social development and industrialisation will be the ultimate philosophy of democratic management of public ownership by workers and the oppressed people. Practically, through the nationalization of the power sector, workers, elected community representatives, artisans, and professionals shall be the deciding class to manage, control and deliberate the policies to implement in improving the sector. This also implies all sectors of the economy are under workers’ management.

    Privatization has failed! Time to Demand for the Re-nationalisation of the Power sector!

With the federal government’s humongous spending on the power sector without any meaningful achievement. In solidarity, the MSA joined all agitating Nigerians to demand an unconditional and total reversal of the power sector and the obnoxious tariff. The MSA urge Nigerians, community activists, socialists, workers, and the trade unions to build unity in strength and commence an action to demand the power sector must be re-nationalised under workers and the oppressed control and management.

We also use this medium to call on the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to declare a national day of action for the re-nationalisation of the power sector. However, the MSA want to say that in effecting this action: picketing, demonstration and decisive action are inevitable to win concessions. Only with this strategic approach can we force the government to reverse the electricity tariff and revoke the license of the Discos and Gencos benefiting from the privatization exercise.


Aj. Dagga Tolar

General Secretary

Movement for A Socialist Alternative, MSA-Nigeria.