By Ayo Akinfe
 Today is November 1, the beginning of a new month, which has historically been a significant date. It was on this day in 1922 that the Ottoman Empire collapsed and Sultan Mehmed VI was expelled from the country. He left his palace through the back door to begin an exile in Italy that lasted until his death in 1926. President Ataturk took over and formed the modern Turkish republic
 It was also on November 1 1848 that WH Smith opened its first railway bookstall, at Euston Station in London. Would you not love it if in Nigeria, we opened as many libraries and bookshops as we did religious houses?
 Also, on November 1 1814, the Congress of Vienna opened to re-draw the European political map after the defeat of France, in the Napoleonic Wars. Europe has never been the same since as the old imperial empires were carved up into modern nation states
 Do you also know that it was on November 1 1800 that John Adams became the first US president to live in the White House
 Just to give you an indication of how imperial old Europe was, it was also on November 1 1671 that French King Louis XIV and German emperor Leopold signed a secret anti-Dutch treaty to share the territory between them
 Taking a further look back at the old and dark Europe of the Medieval era, it was on November 1 1210 that King John of England began imprisoning Jews simply because of their faith
 Of all these events, however, I consider the fall of the Ottoman Empire as the most significant because at one point in time, it was the largest empire on earth. At one stage, it controlled much of southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries. Today, Turkey is just a small, largely insignificant European country with little global influence
 When I look back historically, I marvel as some of the greatest empires we have ever seen have just collapsed. How come today the modern successor states of the Egyptian, Ottoman, Roman and Mongolian empires have very little relevance both politically and economically in the world?
 It just goes to show that power is cyclical and as one empire falls, another rises. Today, China is the new kid on the block but from all indications, the 22nd century will belong to the African continent with Nigeria the driving force behind the resurgence
 With Nigeria suddenly waking up to the fact that she needs to industrialise, develop her steel mills, build railway networks, etc, we may finally be waking up from that deep slumber which we entered into after the collapse of the Ancient Egyptian empire. How we shape the 22nd century will be key to the development of the African continent. Personally, I would rather we sign merger agreements with our neighbours and amalgamate after referendums, instead of marching our troops across their borders and colonising them European-style. Whatever the case, we need to merge our nation states as the ones the Europeans left us with are too small, weak and economically unviable. So let today be the start of the thinking process about how we go about it