9mobile Prize for Innovation

2016 Judges


• Mobile products & services fanatic. • Director Digital Media 9mobile Nigeria • Fmr Engineer with United States Cellular • MBA from the J.L. Kellogg School of Management • Management consultant at Deloitte Consulting.

Adia Sowho


• Chief Executive Officer and Director at Mines.Io Inc. • Over 20 years of experience building distributed systems and data center infrastructure • Member of technical staff at SGI and NASA, where he built large parallel Altix and Origin machines including COLUMBIA which was the fastest supercomputer in the world in 2004 • He is an expert in cloud systems and security, having spent several years at Amazon AWS building cloud services and security infrastructure.

Ekechi Nwokah


• New media specialist and tech entrepreneur • E37 Design where he was responsible for strategy, branding and new media projects • In 2007, he founded the Noah 69 Company, and Bloovue, an online and mobile advertising company • Co-founder Tech Cabal • Brain behind ebolafacts.com website

Seyi Taylor

2015 judges


Audu Maikori

Audu was born in Kaduna and attended King's College Lagos. He obtained his law degree from the University of Jos and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2001.

Otuyemi Otule_copy

Otuyemi Otule

Otuyemi Otule is the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of 9mobile Nigeria where he currently leads the execution of an IT transformation program, the design of which he led, to address new business imperatives.

Tunde Fafunwa

Tunde Fafunwa

Tunde Fafunwa is currently the Managing Director of Kitskoo, Ltd. a mobile and cloud services & consulting firm that advises clients and leads major mobile, Internet and broadband projects, investments and growth strategies.


Ehizogie Binitie

Ehizogie Binitie , is co-founder and chief technology officer of Rancard Solutions Ltd . A Leading pan-African mobile technology company backed by Intel capital, Adlevo Capital and Peninsula capital.

Board of Innovators

Matthew Willsher0Matthew Willsher is the immediate past Chief Executive Officer of 9mobile Nigeria, the fastest growing and most innovative GSM operator in Nigeria. Prior to his previous role as Executive Vice President, Marketing at 9mobile Group, Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at Maxis, the leading telecommunications operator in Malaysia and Chief Operating Officer in CSL Limited, the largest mobile operator in Hong Kong.

Matthew holds an M.A in Physics from Oxford University, as well as a Masters Degree in Management from McGill University-Canada.

Funke OpekeMs. Funke Opeke, is founder and CEO of Main One. Main One is a telecommunications solutions provider that built West Africa’s first privately owned, submarine cable system interconnecting Lagos, Nigeria; Accra, Ghana; and Seixal, Portugal. Under her leadership, Main One has been as a catalyst for change in West Africa’s telecommunications landscape by improving Internet Access across the region, and is now the leading provider of wholesale connectivity solutions to businesses across West Africa, with further investments in terrestrial fiber networks across the region, and West Africa’s largest commercial Tier 3 data center scheduled for completion in Q4 2014.

Ms. Opeke returned to Nigeria in 2005 as the Chief Technical Officer of MTN Nigeria after a twenty-year career in the United States. Prior to her return, she was the Executive Director of Verizon Communications Wholesale Division. Following her stint in MTN, Ms. Opeke advised Transcorp on the acquisition of NITEL, where she briefly served as the interim Chief Operating Officer, NITEL. She obtained a first degree in Electrical Engineering from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife Nigeria and a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University, New York.

George HeldGeorge Held, currently Vice President/Commerce at the 9mobile Group, is regarded as one of the leading global innovators in the telecommunications sector. He has spearheaded development and rollout of Mobile Commerce services and launched the internationally acclaimed One Network service across Africa and the Middle East.

George has previously held senior product innovation roles with Bharti Airtel, Zain, Celtel and Millicom after starting his career with MIT Labs Electronic Systems Center. He excels at conceptualizing innovative and relevant mobile services, especially for emerging markets, and directing development through commercialization, roll-out and on-going product performance enhancement.

George is a highly valued public speaker and has delivered presentations at globally recognized events. His many innovations have received international recognition and have been awarded several times most notably by the GSMA and World Bank.

George holds an MBA from Northeastern University, Boston, USA and he has completed Postgraduate programme at MIT. He is fluent in English, French and Russian.

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