Pastor Done Peter Dabale (April 26, 1949 – August 26, 2006) was a philanthropist, theologian, farmer, nurse, educator and author. Dabale earned numerous certificates and degrees. In 1992 he became the founder of the United Methodist Church in Nigeria (UMCN) During the time he was a bishop, membership in the church grew from 10,000 to 400,000.
He spoke five languages, and his reputation enabled him to travel around the world sharing his leadership skills and partnering with other religious and non-religious groups. He was of Yotti/Bali (Chamba) ethnic group, found predominantly in Taraba and Adamawa state of Middle-Belt, Nigeria.
Dabale was born in Nyabalang-Yotti of the Jereng District of Adamawa State in Nigeria. He came from a polygamous family. Dabale’s mother died when he was an infant; subsequently, he was raised by one of his father’s six wives. Dabale senior was a diviner (mypa) and herbalist, who according to Yotti/Bali Traditional Religion was believed to receive his wisdom from the gods and ancestors who interact with the living. Dabale was to inherit his father’s leadership position; however, while a student in the city Dabale came in contact with Christians and converted. Some of Dabale’s nuclear and extended family members still practice the religion of their ancestors, coexisting with newer religions of Christianity and Islam. Dabale married Kerike C. Dabale, evangelist, farmer and housewife. They had eleven children: Rebecca, Dearsley, Lulah, Maran, Kaka (deceased), Wehnam, Dony, Yoknyam, S.Danjuma, Omega and Sadique. Yoknyam Dabale, also known as “Love” was a graduate student at Duke University; she was with him when he transitioned in Houston, Texas.
- 1967 Nursing Certificate, Numan School of Nursing in Adamawa, Nigeria
- 1970 Certificate in General Agriculture, Government Agriculture School in Yola Adamawa State, Nigeria
- 1974 Diploma in Theology, Theological College in Bukuru Jos, Nigeria
- 1980 International Diploma in Animal Husbandry, Barneveld College in the Netherlands
- 1980 Certificate in Church Administration, Gbarnga School of Theology in Monrovia, Liberia
- 1985 Research Certificate in Agriculture and Theology, University of Alabama, USA
- 1987 Doctor of Divinity in Theology, Gbarnga School of Theology in Monrovia, Liberia
Career and Contributions
Dabale was officer in charge at the Experimental Farm Center at Numan and as a nurse Dabale served as ward assistant at Numan General Hospital, Adamawa State in Nigeria.
He held numerous secular and religious leadership positions in Nigeria, holding administrative positions and teaching classes in the areas of agriculture, and theology:
- 1974 − 76 teacher at Banyam Bible College
- 1976 − 77 teacher, the Kakulu Bible Institute
- 1977 − 82 principal, the Kakulu Bible Institute
- 1980 − 85 pastoral work in Zing
- 1980 − 86 pastoral work in Yonko, Muri East
- 1982 − 83 District Superintendent of the Muri East District (Evangelical United Brethren)
Dabale was a voice on peaceful coexistence amongst Christians, Muslims and practitioners of African Traditional Religions. He also authored books on organic farming, agricultural development, animal production and a book on faith and technology.
In 1992, Dabale was elected the first bishop of the United Methodist Church in Nigeria. His service as bishop in the 1990s was marked by progress in providing education, rural health initiatives including the construction of a hospital in Zing, and eye clinic and maternity clinic, training in agricultural subjects, an orphanage, and improvement of a Christian training school to be a seminary.
By 2000, however, tensions in the church arose out of a perception that Bishop Dabale’s policies had been inequitable to five districts. After a petition to the Nigeria Annual Conference in 2005 advocating his removal, Dabale was granted a leave of absence. Dabale’s supporters subsequently brought to the Conference information regarding a US$100,000 bribe of Bishop Joseph Christian Humper to take sides against Dabale. Bishop Dabale was reinstated in March 2005, and died unexpectedly in August 2006.
- Nigerian National Order of Merit Award – The Vision of Africa Outstanding 2005
- Distinguished Peacemaker Award – General Board of Global Ministry, USA 2004
- Honorary Doctorate – Gbanga School of Theology, Monrovia Liberia, 1992
- Africa National Builder Gold Award – Africa Gold International Communications/Publishers in recognition of his humanitarian activities and immeasurable contribution to the economic and social development of his country Nigeria and the African continent, 2003