THE VENT REPUBLIC reporters caught up with Suzan Ade-Coker, the Founder of Rant HQ Limited, which houses the popular Rant HQ Facebook group, The Rant HQ Blog, and its sister platforms.
She spoke on a variety of issues, from her personal life, public life, scandals, her brand and projects. It was a revealing interview.
Below is the excerpt of the conversation:
TVR: Good Afternoon! Can we get to meet you?
Suzan Ade-Coker: I am Suzan Ade- Coker. I am an indigene of Osun State. I am a mother of 4 and I reside in the United Kingdom.
TVR: Tell us how your growing up years was?
Suzan Ade-Coker: I am blessed to have my parents and family. My parents are ministers in the Apostolic church. I grew up knowing God. I had a happy childhood.
TVR: Which University did you attend and what was your course of study?
Suzan Ade-Coker: Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State. I studied Local Government Administration.
TVR: You have a British Passport; why did you return back home when many of your countrymen would do anything to relocate abroad?
Suzan Ade-Coker: RantHQ. The need for service. Making an impact in my own little way.
TVR: Why did you choose to be in the media? What do you hope to achieve with it?
Suzan Ade-Coker: I never choose to be in the media. I never even dreamt of it. Not at all.
TVR: What year was Rant HQ founded?
Suzan Ade-Coker: 2017, over 4 years ago.
TVR: What was the motivation behind the formation of Rant HQ?
Suzan Ade-Coker: Well, It just happened, one evening, I was bored and decided to kill boredom and I felt let me create a community where I can interact with others on local movies as I was in the UK and I needed to know more about films in Nigeria. I then created thought of a name, it was at first coined ‘Yoruba Pheems’ but I felt I wanted the community name to be more encompassing. I then thought, while not something people can be able to freely express themselves, their unspoken thoughts and musings and voila, the word ‘Rant’ came into cognizance, and that same night, the coinage ‘Rant HQ’ was birthed and here we are today, a duly registered brand.
TVR: Rant HQ has grown to become so big and influential; did you envisage the current success when you began?
Suzan Ade-Coker: No I didn’t envisage the popularity of RantHQ at all, it just happened by God’s grace and consistency.
TVR: Aside from ranting, venting thoughts, allowing members to bear their minds, What other projects is Rant HQ into?
Suzan Ade-Coker: RantHQ is a platform that offers social, mental, and financial support to members and non-members alike as well as counseling services.
We also help in Charity Fundraising for those in need, less privileged, and to God be the glory we have been able to reach a large section of the country.
The Rant HQ platform also offers dating advice and match-making services to interested parties. In addition, our consultants offer career advice to job seekers, prospective entrepreneurs, SME managers, etc. Businesses equally avail themselves of our online advert opportunities and services via Facebook pages and Instagram.
We collaborate with other civil society advocates and organisation on several campaigns in support of the global goals. We support charity organizations and programs as best as we can.
We also have the Rant HQ BLOG where information, breaking news, entertainment gists are serenaded the public on a daily basis.
We wish to do more and we will in time.
TVR: How does Rant HQ monetize?
Suzan Ade-Coker: We do that majorly through adverts and influencing mentions.
TVR: This brings us to the question, Why the choice of Facebook as the major social media channel?
Suzan Ade-Coker: I didn’t choose Facebook. It just happened and to God be the glory, Rant HQ is now more than just Facebook.
TVR: Rant HQ was off Facebook for sometime which led to the formation of Rant HQ Extention. Why was Rant HQ taken off?
Suzan Ade-Coker: Abusive violation. Some members’ contents were deemed not appropriate by Facebook and we were suspended.
TVR:Talking about abusive violation, how do you hope to curtail this going forward?
Suzan Ade Coker: Oh we just try our best in removing negative comments and removing repeated offenders
TVR: Any plan to have another online community aside Facebook?
Suzan Ade Coker: Yes. We are working on a few things but we are keeping it close to our chest.
TVR: Most media houses in Nigeria are solely dependent on adverts; is it a really sustainable business model?
Suzan Ade-Coker: As long as there are products and services, there would be adverts
TVR: Do you support the clamour for the creation of the Oduduwa Republic?
Suzan Ade-Coker: I am against division, I believe in the Unity and oneness of Nigeria but with responsible and empathetic leadership.
TVR: How can women be encouraged to participate more in politics in Nigeria?
Suzan Ade-Coker: Of course! Men and women need to take action in making women participate more in politics.
Women need the support of men and fellow women. Women have been in the background for too long and I believe we can do more than we are doing at the moment. A certain percent affirmative action should be given to women to balance the male dominance in politics and I am glad that major political parties in Nigeria are subsidizing the nomination forms for women, some are even free, it’s in a way a form of encouragement.
TVR: How can the laws against rape and sexual violence against women be strengthened?
Suzan Ade-Coker: The government needs to be bold in dealing with offenders. Women groups need to be vocal. Women in politics and government must influence policies to bring offenders to book.
TVR: There was a time when there was a controversy on a statement you made which many interpreted to be in disdain of a particular tribe. Can you tell us what really happened and your own side of the story?
Before that, let me give you my opinion on the generality of the Igbo people and race as a whole. This is not to sound patronizing, they are amazing people and I respect their spirit of enterprise, even after the ashes of the ill-fated civil war, they rose gallantly to commanding heights of the economy and are active players on the global scene, even in the diaspora where they are making great strides.
On that particular incident, Hmmmm. I felt justified by my Statement at the time.
Now this is the major major one and when I made the statement that I made, it wasn’t my intention to attack a tribe, however, I needed to address the situation because a very large section of a particular tribe was trying to use Rant HQ and my platform as their avenue for secessionist agitation. I respect everyone’s agitation, I respect everyone’s desire, political affiliations but do not force me to accept it. I am Yoruba and I do not subscribe to the Yoruba nation, that’s just me like I do not subscribe to Brexit, I didn’t vote for Brexit, that’s is just me. I am for unity, I am for a united Nigeria, I do not want a breakup, but that is me, so I felt like they were being, they were trying to use my platform for their propaganda and I wanted none of it”.
Some were sending posts for approval with words like: ‘ ‘The Zoo must fall’, ‘Nigeria must go down’, Biafra must come and we don’t care if the Zoo likes it’ and other inciting posts and because they went against the rules of Rant HQ and we not wanting to use the group for such motives, the posts were not approved. Then they began to send threats to my inbox, promising to deal with me. At the time I did what was right and of course, those who did not like what I was doing, who didn’t like the fact that I didn’t allow them to use the platform decided to pay blogs, and basically ran a campaign that I was being tribalistic. Of course, I wasn’t you know, they tried to make it out like oh I said all of them in that tribe, No. I was specific, those who are believed were trying to look for means to force me into their trouble, to have sense, and those who do not have sense, period, referring to the Igbo Secessionists threatening me. I do feel justified by my statement however in a totally different way. See I do not like or support treasonable secessionist agitations. That was what I said but anyway, thankfully we moved on from that, we live and learn. We are one big family now.
TVR: When will you write your memoirs to inspire the younger generation?
Suzan Ade-Coker: I inspire daily. Writing a memoir has not even crossed my mind
TVR: How do you cope with online hate, trolls and virtual bullies?
Suzan Ade-Coker: Oh I make mincemeat out of them. 😂😂😂. I use them. They just don’t know it 😂😂😂
TVR: Youth unemployment is at an all time high – about 33%; how can the government tackle this scourge from your perspective as an entrepreneur?
Suzan Ade-Coker: I’ll rather encourage job creations through empowering SME’s in other to employ more people
TVR: How can the menace of Boko Haram Insurgency and Banditry be crushed?
Suzan Ade-Coker: The government knows who Boko Haram are They know what to do.
TVR: President Muhammadu Buhari seems aloof to the plight of most Nigerians; should he engage the media more rather than always speaking through his aides?
Suzan Ade-Coker: The President has a way. He needs to engage the media more than speaking through his aides who misrepresent him.
TVR: Do you support the school of thought that the US should cite a military base in Nigeria to help fight the insurgents?
It would be great if the US can help against insurgents since our government doesn’t seem to know how to deal with it.
TVR: On a personal note you are extremely beautiful and highly intelligent; do you get frequently bugged by male admirers?
Suzan Ade Coker: Thank you very much for the compliment, well to be honest with you I wouldn’t categorize myself as being highly intelligent, I sometimes, several times, several occasions struggle with what I think its best to do.
As per admirers, Yes I do get them, both male and female actually. Of course more of the males and my pages inbox, my personal inbox, in my WhatsApp, my WhatsApp number is online, it’s on my page, so yeah, so I do get that a lot and I think that’s basic for everybody, that’s what happens to everyone, it’s nothing special.
TVR: So how do you handle very difficult admirers who are hell-bent on having what they want and it’s not mutual?
Suzan Ade Coker: I just ignore or block them.
TVR: How do you cope with online hate, trolls, and virtual bullies?
Suzan Ade-Coker: Experience is the best teacher, let me put it that way. Over time I have developed a thicker skin, not because I want to, not because I did anything special but I have this mindset that as no one would pull me down, I would not accept any bullying or any intimidation from anyone. So I just stand up to them, sometimes I do make fun of them, sometimes I just waka pass them jare. Then some of them are probably borrowing data from MTN, I am in my house with unlimited data, so it’s their loss and the thing is that those that do this mostly online, when they see me in person, they can do me nothing, as in they can not do jack.
TVR: Will you give marriage another shot?
Suzan Ade Coker: Right now, I wouldn’t even bother about that, I wouldn’t even want to try a relationship talkless of marriage but then never say never, if the right person comes across, comes along, then fine, if not, I am cool.
TVR: Thank you for accepting our invitation to let us interview you out of your busy itinerary.
Suzan Ade-Coker: Its a pleasure and Thank you for inviting me to speak on your platform.